It is a horrible thing to feel all we possess slipping away – Pascal, Pensees, 212
The winter churns away above the stars
And thunderstorms divide the falling snow
Like pulverized domains of Venus, Mars….
The only difference between what they know
(By which I mean the gods above and worse
Below) is wind and snow, how both renew
The chilling grudges either side of time—
And time is all we’ve got to make the few
Mistakes that take us out beyond the game.
Detested earth beneath my feet and breath
Within my chest indict these bones I claim
The same as draughts on squares that jump for death
Or life. The Herod name, so old, so full of gold
And rusting all the same…. I wish the earth
Would swallow whole the price that fame foretold
In blood. Intestinal politicos
Like Caesar can negotiate the cold
And haunt Jerusalem’s dunned porticos
But kings affixed with templed crowns insist
When thunder whispers names in swirling snow
It means that children die with all the rest
That vanity deletes. In general,
When word goes out, the world will not resist.
They say I am unstable, illiberal—
I say a word that’s canceled can’t exist.