Friday, August 25, 2023

"New Rule" by Anne Carson


A New Year’s white morning of hard new ice.
High on the frozen branches I saw a squirrel jump and skid.
Is this scary? he seemed to say and glanced

down at me, clutching his branch as it bobbed
in stiff recoil—or is it just that everything sounds wrong today?
The branches

He wiped his small cold lips with one hand.
Do you fear the same things as

I fear? I countered, looking up.
His empire of branches slid against the air.
The night of hooks?

The man blade left open on the stair?
Not enough spin on it, said my true love
when he left in our fifth year.

The squirrel bounced down a branch
and caught a peg of tears.
The way to hold on is


Source of the text - Anne Carson, Men in the Off Hours.  New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 2000, page 12.

TJB: In this post-ice-storm colloquy of poet & squirrel, sprung with active verbs—skid, bob, clink—the poet sees, too late, how to hold on in flux.

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