Here in the creak and the dark,
Take heart and mouth your clouds:
Be it ever so ice-locked,
You're ringed by maple woods.

Let that be your pure thought
Here in the numb and the gloom:
The sap will answer the knock,
The taproot calls up the stem.

Hunker and let your heart feast
Here in the stark and the bleak:
No word need cross your lips,
There is no switch to throw,
Be it ever so bone-wracked,
One mild snap primes the flow.

Here in the stammer and shiver,
Let this cast your lot:
In all the leafless hollows
The fuse is already lit,
If the mercury's a blood-drop,
The pressure's building up . . .

Be it ever so dumbstruck
Here in the grip of the grim,
Sweet is the open secret
Here on the tip of your tongue.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 24 Number 6, on page 30
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