The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Ray Sharp: Wind Fierce as Love


Northern Autumn

Misery falls on our lives
at a slow drizzle
and seeps into sandy loam
until saturation
when it runs into ditches and
streams to the lake
which will suffice for now
but soon enough
cold winds across the water
will gather it in
and dump it as endless snow
so we can watch
our misery pile up and measure it
in inches and feet
and pack it into men and women
to stand in the yard
for all to see how cold we feel


Snow Angel

Have you ever been mesmerized
by snowflakes bright against the night
like a billion white moths
like pieces of the clouds
kissing your upturned face?

Ecstatic on your back in the snow.
Don’t sleep. Come back to Earth.


Write your poem — she told me –
not about a snow storm
but rather a snow flake.
That is how she came to me,
not with blizz and bluster,
fizz and fluster, but soft
and Selene-y, floaty, flirty,
crystallined, one of a kind.


Third Storm

The snow came fast and heavy last night,
smoothly wind-packed on the mowed lawn,
lumpy on the rough-textured field beyond,
a perfect simulacrum of lumpy clouds above.

Ground and sky converge at the distant hill line,
a banner of deep steel blue, not sky blue
but some cloud of a different sheen,
maybe the reflection of the lake.

The dogs revel in this change of season,
flipping up snow with their noses
as they chase about the yard.

We’ll walk over the ridge and down to the shore
on roads that will be snow-packed till spring.
They say the third snow always sticks.



The full moon shines big and bright
through the pines, high in the winter sky,
bearded and scarved in white clouds.

I am the small, dark object of its stare,
less than any field mouse tunneling under snow
to gnaw the tender bark of a young apple tree.

My mouth is like a rodent’s, with sharp
words that strip away skin and scar flesh,
as I scurry in the shadows of my shame.



Six Sandhill cranes land in a field ringed by cottonwoods. Dry grass,
wind-combed cornstalks, thin snow rind in fence shade. Chain clanging
on a metal flagpole, Oglala drumbeat. Weak sun setting, half moon
rising like me without you on New Year’s Day in a wind fierce as love.


Still Winter

Incoherent clouds,
errant snowflakes
on a noncommittal breeze
like accidental birds
with no particular

You could stand
and stare
through winter bare
aspen limbs
whose terminal buds
dot the felted sky,

but the dogs
are restless,
wary of the quiet
before the storm.


A Nice Day To Start Again

Cold and clear, moon and stars.
I was thinking Tom Waits
diamonds on my windshield
as I turned over the engine

and the early morning in my mind
and switched on the car radio
to Billy Idol’s nice day for a white wedding.
This is how you start the poem engine –

not winter’s white quilt or shroud,
but a wedding dress – lacy white veil
over the face of the nubile land,
the long train of snow at the feet

of tall pines, the marriage of oxygen
to two hydrogens who share her lusty
valence orbital, a mass wedding
officiated by Reverend Moon.



Everyone is looking for footprints in the forest
when the elephant is here inside them
and his footprints have all filled in with snow.

If the buddhadharma is a path to the house
of my awakening, and the falling snow
is the mad monkey mind, I sure have a lot to shovel.

Or I could begin by sitting and sensing the snow
settling as the sky goes cold and clear, and then
walk atop the sparkly surface of my new life.


Snow Melt

Everywhere snow is melting,
dripping, gurgling, percolating,
open water running, torrenting
through ditches and culverts
along roads built up across
the fields and swamps
and so many molecules
wandering away on their own
directly from snow to vapor
with no apparent liquefaction,
a process called sublimation,
and isn’t it just sublime
this conjugation of waters
after so long frozen,
like sap rising, like love?


As If to Turn

The snow-covered field shines
under the blue winter sky.
The land slopes gently
from north to south, draining
too from east to west
toward a rough center line
of bare shrubs, giving,
in the glare of midday sun,
the impression of an open book
with facing pages in strong light.
Three does browse the margin
at the forest edge and then
cross to the center fold
like a sharp-hooved sentence,
words like hind legs, haunches,
hunger, and up the other side
as if to turn the page into spring.



“Snow Angel” and “Snowflake” appeared at vox poetica

One Comment

Comments are closed.