Mount Kearsarge Shrines
mount kearsarge shines with ice; from hemlock branches
snow slides onto snow; no stream, creek, or river
budges but remains still. Tonight
we carry armloads of logs
from woodshed to Glenwood and build up the fire
that keeps the coldest nights outside our windows.
Sit by the woodstove, Camilla,
while I bring glasses of white,
and we’ll talk, passing the time, about weather
without pretending that we can alter it:
Storms stop when they stop, no sooner,
leaving the birches glossy
with ice and bent glittering to rimy ground.
We’ll avoid the programmed weatherman grinning
from the box, cheerful with tempest,
and take the day as it comes,
one day at a time, the way everyone says.
These hours are the best because we hold them close
in our uxorious nation.
Soon we’ll walk — when days turn fair
and frost stays off — over old roads, listening
for peepers as spring comes on, never to miss
the day’s offering of pleasure
for the government of two.
Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin
Donald Hall is one of our foremost men of letters, widely read and loved for his award-winning poetry, fiction, essays, and children’s literature. He has published sixteen collections of poetry and has edited numerous anthologies. His poetry has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The National Book Critics Circle Award, a Lenore Marshall Award, and the Robert Frost Medal of the Poetry Society of America. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was installed as the nation’s Poet Laureate in October of 2006. Since 1975, when he resigned his university teaching position, Hall has lived in New Hampshire, on Eagle Pond Farm, an old family house, which he shared with his wife, poet Jane Kenyon. Their life together and her tragic death from leukemia have been the subjects of many of his poems.