Early Snow on Scarlet Ivy

by Edward Harsen

Spoken Word

I see Peekskill Hollow deepen
as I roll over Hamburg Mountain,
ignore the pressure against my inner ear,
tricked eyes resting on the lesser Catskills
until the plunge past Breakneck Lane
curves an undercut stone bridge,
a lunge like sun down the ridge,
or your long slalom schussing a flurry of t-cells.

We are from a family of cancers
gracing early snow on scarlet ivy,
our relentless growth the same
as locust and sumac stacking chlorophyll
against every storm.

When the weather warms,
I’ll hack at the light green sprigs
with a rush of blood
I just don’t feel tonight,
all the pull of gravity and tomorrow
dwindling into the flats
below Heaven Hill Farm.

@Edward Harsen 2012

4 thoughts on “Early Snow on Scarlet Ivy by Edward Harsen

  1. “a lunge like sun down the ridge,” fits Matthew Arnold’s description of poetry as “something perfectly said.” Edward, I don’t know how you feel about comparisons but I am sure there are worse things than being compared to Robert Lowell. The imagery and compression in this poem are so perfect I can’t believe I haven’t met you in an anthology. I can feel the New England tang and yet the lyrical beauty of your verse is so mesmerizing I don’t feel you are a modern “confessional poet.” Lowell is one of my favorite poets and though there are similarities your style is uniquely your own and you have made an appreciative fan. Thank you for such a beautiful poem; the juxtaposition of your fresh lyrical verse and the horror of the subject matter is brilliant!~~~~~Looking forward to more!!

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