Hayden Carruth

(August 3, 1921 – September 29, 2008 / Woodbury, Connecticut)

February Morning


The old man takes a nap
too soon in the morning.
His coffee cup grows cold.

Outside the snow falls fast.
He'll not go out today.
Others must clear the way

to the car and the shed.
Open upon his lap
lie the poems of Mr. Frost.

Somehow his eyes get lost
in the words and the snow,
somehow they go

backward against the words,
upward among the flakes
to the blankness of air,

the busy abundance there.
Should he take warning?
Mr. Frost went off, they say,

in bitterness and despair.
The old man stirs and wakes,
hearing the hungry birds,

nuthatch, sparrow, and jay
that clamor outside, unfed,
and words stir from his past

like this irritable sorrow
of jay, nuthatch, and sparrow,
wrath which no longer takes

shape of sentence or song.
He climbs the stairs to bed.
The snow falls all day long.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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