May The Dying Save Us

By Peter Halstead

Something falling down to tangle summer
Flashes, resting on a sorrel tip: a piece
Of cotton come to bear the whirl and blur,
The burden of the dying trees,

When limbs are shorn of skin like lambs,
When little bits of fleece like this
Hold the future of the barren land,
The history of the fold, in chrysalis:

Deceptive root that looks like bloom,
Embryo that looks like snow,
Milkweed tassel washing slowly down
The lip of night to fold,

To blanket soil in seed like rice,
Foam that wraps the ground in mold,
Coat our summertime in ice
And keep it from the cold.

Tippet Alley
September 19th, 1995 (called "Advice to a Poet")

Redone September 19th, 2004