Poetry



 

 


 
 



MAILBOX


Each day once resembled

a box like this. The plain

of ocean, the rugged breadloaf

of earth; day was longer

then, and night rose up without

sleep or twilight.


Nothing ended.

Roads and diaries,

coins and epitaphs.

One morning a horse,


two men. A dog snouting-out

a mouse or a ground squirrel,

the creature burrowing, hiding.

And the tiniest detail,

an apricot or a shaving


from a pencil drifted down

to the orchard floor.

Snow stippled the distant volcano.


And sleep began, among the old,

among the infant, noon a promise,

yes underlined and circled.


Mailbox appeared originally in Commonweal


Hear Adam Friedlander's dramatic new reading of my poem of escape and secret joy:  Turtles:

https://soundcloud.com/michael-cadnum/turtles



Hibernation    
 
The sky has vanished and the bear cannot be seen.
Day has gone, and night is all there is,
from the beginning to this present
instant with its wrinkled glacier.
The bear sleeps in the earth,
and the land is blank, white starlight over empty ice.
 
The bear stirs but does not wake. Moss and lichen
are buried under ceaseless silence, slope and ridge
turned to glass.  Even the wind is ancient,
weighing down on every
uncovered stone, suppressing every hue.
This is midnight as the bear
slumbers underground.
This is predawn, nothing changed.  This is
his increasingly broken dream,
his flagging sleep, progressively imperfect
 
oblivion, breaking light
through the chapters of soil.
This is hunger rising in the east.                

 

             

Hibernation appeared originally in Blue Unicorn

 



 

This link takes you to my poem about love, intrigue and oppression--The Empire of Desire: 

 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/flashes/cadnum_empire_of_desire.html

 



The Triumph


And for it all, for the worst parts of it,

nothing. For the long march,

the trouble in the clinch and the too-hungry

in-fighting.


And for the fear, fought and fought well

that it meant nothing at all

as if refusing to give it up

would be all it would take,

nothing returns.

The victory come to

is made of dust,


ash of an ancient fire.

This was the golden fleece

heavy upon its tree,


the best, the rare,

this was the hard-to-come-by,

this was the most sought-for--

this was the dreamed-of end.


Hung on its branch

hairless, a ram's hide.

 

 

The Triumph appeared originally in The Antioch Review.

 

 

 The artwork is based on a photo by Michael Cadnum.

 

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