"Rootless hope and fruitless desire"


The leaves in the barrel

Were iced with delay

By the two dogs’ kennel

At the end of the day’s


Turning to distance,

Like Christmas to spring,

Or discord to dance,

Or tendril to swing;


The cold fire’s smoke wreaths

Ran rink on the time’s sun,

Round Decembrist old sheaves

Ladder had ripped from


Bridge covered by trees

And coniferous twist:


Of arboreal tryst


Proved the biblical health

Of the ring -

But the tree went up

Like marrying wealth, 

Or a child in the stirrup -

Or carolling,


Overshadowing the grief

To the family.

It was the recusant leaf

Rendered sympathy.


Thank God it’s not carpeting, 

Said baker to daughter, 

And thought of the evening, 

Wife’s lover, and water.


Adriance Halsetad