My sickbed’s a barren beach without a sail,
And on a sheet of tepid moonlit sand
I lie prone as though asleep, exhausted & pale.
I’ll slip my fingers from death’s tightening hand;
The vessel of my body cannot hold
The numbing stream of beauty pouring down.
The sky ablaze with stars, so vast & old,
Like Aaron’s rod, strikes water and I drown
By beauty overcome, what more do I need?
I need to stay in bed until winter’s over!
Until the frost no longer chills the dark,
Its pointed fingers prodding the bruised clover
Too blanketed to heed its cold remark.
I’ll shut my eyes against midnight wailing
Of rainy winds, and dream of a time, when,
The season and myself, no longer ailing,
Can rise and call out, welcome to life again.
Illustration by Joan Walsh Anglund, 1959.