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Carol Hamilton

The Poet Takes a Government Post

		Not uncommon in other lands.
		And so in China, the man of images
		and words fell to extracting taxes,
		saw his subjects as clouds
		of insects settled into the valley
		below him, amassed and held
		tight to the loss of any clarity.
		He perceived no map of streets 
                laid out there like the grid
		of electrical relays my father showed
		to teach me how order works.
		He often unrolled his blueprints
		on the oak table, smoothed them.
		I stared as uncomprehending
		and trapped as the ancient man
		of letters.  He gazed at no lotus
		blossom, no gourd of eggshell 
		delicacy nor heard dried seeds 
		pelting music from within.  
		We await, with our crossed purposes, 
		release from this world of ledger books.


		"But even the chips of it are invaluable." 
                                     William Carlos Williams

	There is no word
	so I will not say it
          but I will try

	overgrown forest
concrete steps to crippled trees
         someone carved his name

A Writer's Winter Week by Candlelight

My air is redolent of tallow
and dollops of wax are everywhere,
my hair, my forehead, the countertops,
the tablecloths.Huge snowflakes
drift down when it is day,
cover the ice-broken branches,
the shattered crown of the giant elm.
Cold hours cruise past 
with memories of Post-War Scotland,
our cold flat, or Bolivia in the Andes, 
mountain climbing and cold
camping trips. Those were shivery
but good times, so I shake off
and again use the past. I feel 
virtuous when I re-cycle,
and even misery has its uses,
both in poetry and in life.
For me, they are the same.

Written in His Hand

Somehow one man, who must
have lived an overworked
and hectic life with too many children
and too much to accomplish,
summoned the slow-wheel
of human longing 
and reached out to the ages, 
sending a quiet gift 
for the acceptance 
of another dawn.

I choose 4 a.m. to begin the day
after nights of pacing, trying out
one place or another, one position
for rest, a place to out-distance pain.
I am ready for some creature comfort:
my mini-mocha, a velvety throw.
At times I find mind-soothing 
in music or contact with friends. 
This morning it reaches out to me
from the cover-art on the sheet music 
for "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,"
beloved notes I have been
practicing anew, though with arthritic,
fumbling fingers. The reproduction
is black and gray, ancient-looking,
a hand-written manuscript, 
the only legible word scrawled,
"Choral." The music in my head
rolls like warm waves
coming ashore in moonlight, 
and I think, indeed, 
in Bach's own hand,
a gift of quiet. 

Somehow one man, who must
have lived an overworked 
and hectic life, reached out 
to the ages, sent a quiet gift  

Through Fog and Forest

                    "...inclined to see sins as phases through which humans pass..."
	 					Czeslaw Milosz on William Blake

"Through the deep waters" they sing
with never a thought that the depths
that swallow us whole may dwell within.
Does it matter as we stumble 
and sing and sometimes raise our eyes
from the ruts of this half-chosen road?

Carol Hamiltion has recent and upcoming publications in PONTIAC REVIEW, SANSKRIT LITERARY-ARTS MAGAZINE, POET LORE, LIMESTONE, LOUISIANA LITERATURE, OFF THE COAST, PALAVER, SAN PEDRO RIVER REVIEW, HAIGHT ASHBURY LITERARY JOURNAL, HUBBUB, BLUE UNICORN, TWO CITIES REVIEW, POEM, TIPTON POETRY REVIEW, and others. I have published 17 books: children's novels, legends and poetry, most recently, SUCH DEATHS. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize.

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