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in plain air 193
christmas down at the mission
Tonight sun and moon and earth line up and drag
The sea far back, the still tidepools, like light
Solidifi ed, mirror that great headlight,
The low sun, beaming on ... but here's the snag:
Been reading in the latest lit'ry rag
From Britain, and in this one doing right
(As with the Pauper Witch) is their delight
In tight-lipped "leaders." Made my spirits fl ag.
I know it's for your own good when they say
"Sit down, my friend, this chilling Christmas day,
Though the bench is hard, the table bare of trimmings,
Hold out your bowl and heed our bracing hymnings!"
Meat gray and stringy, gravy gray and thin,
Served up by the clammy enemies of literary sin.
I pick my way through a parking lot nearly full
As a miscellaneous, chilly crowd straggles in.
The sea is pale, a barely fl uttering skin
Of light, and everywhere, an uncomfortable
Clearness and separateness to things, they have all
Hardened in this sharp air, and I begin
My run bleakly, not much helped out when
A new girl jogger fl ashes me a smile
For my weak smile; much less when I look off
From the stones underfoot to where there glows
The sun, low now and like a blurred red rose
In its cold cloud. The cold moon clears the bluff ,
Full, and almost too bright to look into.
I head home running moonlit through and through.