Ham & Okra & Joanna Klink

A great Easter! Everyone was there, even my dad, in the guise of a bunch of old pictures my cousin had passed on to my eldest brother, who then fashioned them into two framed collages to present to Mum. And Mum not only cooked a ham and the usual fare, but she also fried up some okra this year that she’d been saving in the freezer, and boiled green beans with the hambone and some ham — oh so decadent! And one sister supplied a coconut cream pie and strawberry cheesecake, and the other chocolate cupcakes, plus Mum’s apple pie — a cacophony of calories! But there’s a lot of us, so there wasn’t very much left over to take home. Vincent was in his element, being doted on by his older cousins — they’re a very affectionate bunch. I hope you all had wonderful holidays as well!


Lance was concerned that no one at the store has remarked on my black eye: “See, they think I did it!” he said.

Eldest brother assured us, “If anyone asks, you can tell them that I said you probably deserved it.”

Lance laughed, then quickly said, “Don’t you dare!”


There are still piles of snow in Shelburne Falls, but it’s slowly receding, the ground visible around the edges. I’m a born & bred New Englander, but I confess, I prefer the idea of winter over the reality. To me, winter is best as a view from a warm room. Maybe that’s why I love winter poems, there’s something about them both lush and austere at the same time.

It’s spring at last, but I want to share one last winter poem by one of my favorite poets, Joanna Klink, from her newest collection, Circadian (Penguin, 2007). And if you want a real treat, Ron Slate has a wonderful discussion of this book here.

Winter Field

What better witness than this evening snow,
its steady blind quiet, its eventual
completeness, a talc smoothing every surface

through the lumen tricks of ice.
No one who comes here hastens to leave,
though the mineral winter makes a dull

math of cold inside the bones, a numbness
thinning into each fingertip and eye.
Faint injury traveling toward earth

in shifting silence, a softness in the weather
passing through us, dark moods of snows–
a sense of peace so deep we extend out

into the blackness of our lives, dread and failure,
and feel no hint of terror, only the premonition
of drift-design, the stars behind the snow

burning in ancient immanence over the field.
What lights a world gone blank with despair?
You were here once; you will be here again.

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