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