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from A BOOK OF HOURS / Larry Kramer This plant, my love, dragging itself across A ziggurat of books, a life but pale, Each leaf unfurls to cloud our finished oak And greening brass. A living throng, a snarl, Yet almost artifice, a force that moves Light toward light from a nearly rootless grasp, It twines like elaborate tracery that frames Ancient illuminated manuscripts. Who as a child could love those books of hours?— Skies of ground lapis, suns of dark gold, To pass the idle noble's weariness, Ideal peasant life upon a brilliant ground. Through poor things, our room and vine, a sun by great stands Of trees comes to strike, my love, your folded hands. The Missouri Review · 23 HUNTER IN THE SNOW / Larry Kramer The cold only grants you a minute To stand before turning to cold itself, A last minute of you as you are, The snow in filthy rags and ribbons, Each snapped cornstalk bone, thigh or femur, The hill passing light like black sapphire. Your last ten thousand years are nothing, The hands hang at your sides without feeling, Your feet what they touch, eyes what they see— The great ice sheet still skidding toward stop. Beware most this too even horizon, The straight roads, the rolling lie of farm country: There are teeth from the creek you can't lift, Ancient bodies sealed like wasps in their domed chambers Tussed up like slaves, bound sitting for flight, Who once trampled these fields in ritual. Freezings and thaws turn their spearpoints up; It's a killing ground and always was. The ice will take up your spine as a stylus, It will scratch its name for you on its ledges, Then set you down at last in a poor tribe of cedars. Hunter, to die by cold is to begin dreaming, The bright hill of the lark, summer's noon. The coasting hawk, shades never quite dark, All your immense edges long rounded off, Each breath vaster, more gradual, Until after the blankening squall, the pured clearings. The great beast you trailed all day turns Finally cornered this evening, its wound grievous, Its life shot over all the snows, purplish and steaming: 24 · The Missouri Review Whose eyes then see, what hands in limitless extension— Over the white houses in whiter hollows, Whose eternal heart in its lodges of snow beating? Larry Kramer THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 25 ...


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