Angle Of Repose II

By Peter Halstead

As hills their limits know,
Beyond which avalanching snow

Or scree becomes the norm
(As even pebbles need decorum),

Expecting from their land
A firm idea of where they stand),

Or as a theodolite employs its
Bubbles when it poises

(The purpose of all talents is
To find the secret balances),

As a seesaw waxes
Better at its axis,

Or a top, deprived of meaning,
Ends up simply leaning,

As anything unsettled or disheveled
Prefers a planet better leveled,

So, wobbling, I, less you,
Am a world more askew.


I wrote this on a piece of bark on Cathy’s birthday many years ago. Without realizing it, I wrote another poem twenty-one years later with the same title on the same subject, which only proves how redundant poets, and how tolerant their wives.


As snow disobeys
The angle of repose
To form unstable
I would have drifted
Other ways:
It moved me more
To fall to you.

March 7th, 1982