Two Poems

Lynn Strongin


They Scrape the Snow, Grazing
moose in Yellowstone            a difficult kind of feeding.
The Blessing of the animals.

While smoke-jumpers
put out fires with cones of water

but only to an extent:            it’s ecologically more sound to let some fire burn.
The rage that ate up my spine burned out

Left levelled, ash-scarred plains.
Never Never land.
I went back to find windbreaker, skis, poles
but they had been burned when the room
like Yellowstone was levelled of all trails of disease:
the scars shone like pits in polished gem-stone.


Failed Nerve strikes like a fuse blown in a city, a whole power station:

The long pressure of the gem in earth creates nerve-pain:
One can lose daring in art, nature.

I think of my window-sitting:

A small child post-polio I was wiry, strong:

In the bay window which got a New England slant of sun falling on lace-wheels
turning the cartwheels I could no longer perform
translating it into it a shade less snow, more ecru: bone. Like silver

Strata of sadness            like layers of water lapping over steps
characterized our early lives:
the war, divorce, polio:

knobs of the spine
beads of a rosary.

Then the layers resembled mica
the silver ambitions, cruelties, battles of adolescence:
when we mistook for love flirtation.

Postured like a child of 9
I stooped behind a stump

I twisted one skinny leg around the other
as if for the last time

holding back weeping
promising to be honest as the day is long.
But it exceeds understand:
the forked prey awas caught over & over again:

A half-year in state hospital at age 12 had given me a skewed idea of family:
I saw it as spiraled metal or wood.

I read this in my father’s sadness, our mother’s moods.
Any remants of bliss
possibility of childhood happiness

blew, shredded ethereal garments
in the Puritan wind of a merciful God had there been one:

our circle of lamplight was an embroidery hope
of sadness.


“I have poems in roughly 50 journals (Italy, England, Canada, the States.) Work in thirty anthologies, and nine published books of poems. I worked for Denise Levertov in the sixties, studied informally under Robert Duncan. My anthology The Sorrow Psalms:A Book of Twentieth Century Elegy will be published by the University of Iowa Press, April 2006. Work on-line in: Hotel Amerika, Storie, New Works Review (featured poet, winter 2005), C / Oasis, Terrain, Tryst, Avatar, Chiaroscuro.” E-mail: yosunt[at]

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