Outside Looking In

By Peter Halstead

The extra stillness wakes me.
The room feels white,
Surrounded as it is by windows
That let in so much outside light.
A bird sits on a tree,
And imperceptibly it snows.

The house is sheathed in winds.
The lodgepole pines reach out of sight
Beyond the window tops.
The day is wreathed in night,
The hour when all the planet’s sins
Are with us, and the world stops.

Silence reigns, and swaying trunks, and mist,
Enveloping the woods in vapor.
Snow fills in between the boughs:
A still life on rice paper
Drawn by some lofty wrist
Around the quiet hissing house.

The fog moves in, the snow increases,
Blowing sideways now. I can see
The woods whiten and close down,
Pulling nearer to protect me
From my nightmare’s bits and pieces,
The imaginary town

Of a sudden summer storm:
The floating house, the snowy bird
Who sits outside my sleep world on a limb,
Pitching dreams without a word,
Puffed up and hopping to keep warm,
Watching me watching him.

Tippet Alley
May 9th, 1995