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WINTER -- by Kenneth Rexroth Very late, a thin wash Of cirrus cloud covers half The sky and obscures A three quarter moon. Since midnight it has turned warmer. There will be rain before morning. There is no wind. Everything holds still In the vaporous light. I walk along the stream. Its voices are rich and subdued. The alders overhead blend their bare twigs And catkins with the moonlit clouds Into one indistinct, netted haze. The hills, covered with wet young grass, Are intangible as billows of fog. The decaying leaves on the path Break the light into a hazy shimmer. The thin bladed laurel leaves Look like Su Tung Po's bamboos. Two deer bounce away from me Through the woods, in and out Of the shadows like puffs of smoke. The moon grows very dim. The air does not move at all. The stream deepens its voices. I turn to go back to my hut, And come on the cloudy moon And the light filled sky Reflected through the bare branches In a boundless, velvety pool. I stand and gaze and remember That if this were my home country, In a few hours, slow, still, wet, huge, Flakes of snow would be falling Through the windless dawn. From a longer poem entitled Hojoki, in The Collected Shorter Poems of Kenneth Rexroth. New York, NY: New Directions, 1966.


Winter, by Kenneth Rexroth