Friday, February 24, 2012

Storms Will Tell


by Janet Frame

The Spring moss
the plush lining of the jewel-box
rediscovered beneath the snow.
Fever-green surfacings.
Ice with its edges smoothing
shaping in the lick-tongue of the sun
transparent white-green sweet;
then — moss as renewal, a green extra,
sun-sweat, the flower-in-itself, starry evidence,
incapable of wounding.
Spring-moss, crib-moss, beginnings.

Now, forlorn green light upon the black trees,
the moss of neglect, decay, weather,
the aftermath of a yearlong feast
with the year gone suddenly away.
The day has cut off the heat and the light.
Wind snarls in the rain O poor groaning mouth
at the crevices of a season shot full of holes
by birch and maple fire, the trees’ incredulous
It does not happen here, the violence of desertion,
of the difference between our lives as mosscovered graves
and the source, the mine of rich leaflight.

Newly unexpectedly ancient
the trees weep in their mossy beards
in the desolation of rain and cold
in the disillusion of a colourfast world’s fading.
Only the angel birches, good with weather,
receive violence, return grace.

Storms Will Tell: Selected Poems by Janet Frame is published by Bloodaxe Books and is available on and

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