The Poetry of
Jack Scott

I Sleep Through Spring Sometimes

I sleep through spring sometimes
prolonging hibernation,
overwhelmed by winter,
stung by frozen hell,
remembered well.

Echo is acquaintance,
Shadow my oldest friend,
phantom mirror of my self
showing what I am
by the size and shape I cast.

In winter I am long and low,
at my highest risk
of being buried under snow
appearing too thin and frail
to dig out from under it.

Spring and fall are compromise,
changings of the tide.
My silhouette
is either on its way
to hug me or coldly turn away.
In summer we’re united,
as one, we play and frolic,
while ruefully aware
of the year’s two seasons:
three months my season of the sun,
nine months, the rest of it.

I must censor what I read
while basking on the beach.
Jack London’s on my no-no list,
also Dostoyevsky,
nothing of Siberia,
Alaska or the Poles,
or- god forbid- Titanic!
From DVDs and movies I banish
icebergs from my mind:
such as Nanook of the North,
Fargo and The Shining,
Winter’s Bone, The Thing
and Groundhog Day,
Let the Right One In.

Imagination’s wolves
pursue me yet
gnashing at my heels
across frozen, icy landscapes,
with no refuge anywhere,
no cabin or campfire,
not even any tree to climb.
How long can this go on?
Till I wake up, I guess,
or they catch up with me.

My bedroom is warm enough,
to warm my toes and nose
and everything between
through winter nights.
(But what about the days?)
Those thoughts are rational,
but reason‘s not enough
to penetrate
my mental permafrost.

I sometimes dream my covers gone,
snatched away by Arctic gales,
but when I kick and scream and shout-
my enemy calls in his kin and then Antarctica joins in,
another saw blade
shredding frozen air,
my voice within it.

The chill and dread
of my unheated prison,
this freezer I inhabit
stocked with frozen voice
leaving no survivor
to tell my tale to rescuer
in time for vernal CPR,
go deeper than my bones.

I’ll plan another spring
next fall,
when I set my clock
to wake for it,
but, alas, this year
I’ve picked
and smelled no flowers.

By the time I say
“It’s spring”,
it’s over.

L51 ®Copyright 1974 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.