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© 2005 - 2008 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas. 

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The Comanche

Weak after long fasting, felt a slow

Trembling shake the earth--the buffalo ! --

And raced his pony barebacked toward the herd.

That morning not a brave in camp could gird

Himself with strength to bend the stout bowstem,

Yet with bursting arms he twangs his arrow

Deep in the bisonís heart! Comanches know

The Great Spirit when it possesses them.

And now the poet, half a savage bound

By the hungers of his tribe, paces his swift

Foray across a desolate hunting-ground,

In hopes to run to earth a fleeting creature

And with the unpremeditated gift

Of spirit, seize imaginationís meat.  

from Makes You Stop and Think: Sonnets (NY: George Braziller, Inc., 2005), p. 36


At the Winter Solstice

Austerity is not asperity

as woodchuck and the snoozing owl

in oakís high hollow or blackberry root

sheltering feathered claw and fallow foot

against the winterís rude temerity

know well.


Then prosper them within the earthy hostel;

let time of icecaps and the soughing

hemlocksí sleet-sleeved pentecost

annunciate the coming of their host

in a risen guise again of the green gospel

at the sunís sowing.


from The City of Satisfactions (NY: Oxford U.P., 1963), p. 3. © Daniel Hoffman