Shining Rock Poetry Anthology

Turning

by Eleanor Wilner

Some days it was nothing more than a whine
in the wires when the wind plays
the power lines across the plains;
sometimes it was the sound of shuffling cards,
the click of thrown dice, the slight percussion
of luck; then, too, there were the ice-
struck days when silence was a jar with the lid
screwed tight, and all you could see was
a huge eye staring in at  you,
cyclopean, cold blue, an incurious malice,
slightly veiled by the blur of breath on glass.
  ---
Out here, the air is clearing now,
      a slow return of what has been
shaken from slumbering in the dark,
      as a bear, sleepy and bemused, stumbles
into the sun one day in early spring, the frost
      still on the morning grass, but the winter
freeze that held the earth in its bitter fist
      opened now, and the bear, hungry and not yet
quite awake, rubs his winter eyes
     with a thawing paw, feels a world begin
to sharpen itself against his claws,
      and hears a few long notes
that might have been a bird, if birds
      could hold a note like that,
the brass horn of the sun raised
      against the night, the slow return of blood
to the sleeping flesh, a prickling all along the legs,
      the spine, and up there, on the pine's long
branch, green through all the time of white,
      a song, not of a bird, but just what, invisible,
                      calls forth mass
             from the passing particles,
        and spins a world from elegance
   and chance, embodied like the Hindu
gods who, having just destroyed the world
          that they had made, don't stop 
to rue what they must always do,  but spin
          the cosmos like a monstrous top,
                  and so it all begins again,
                          and as it spins,
                                  the dice
                                     like
                          distant thunder, 
                                     roll. 
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