Suburban Spring Shrivelled snowdrift, last of its kind, orphaned alone on the lawn, not long for this world. Birds creakily seesaw, visible still brave in the tree branches’ fingers, fractal hairline fractures against the foggy sky. Geese fly, north, probably, now—there was a time when I was new as the muddy spring was new and nothing human blocked the view.
Dylan Thomas, 5 a.m. Do not go fretful into that cold light That leaks around the doorframe from the day. Stay, stay and watch the biding of the night. Though wise men know that going home is right, Because the fire still flickers lovely they Do not go fretful into that cold light. Good men, whose business calls them to the bright Commercial morning flecked with suits of gray, Stay, stay and watch the biding of the night. Wild men that hour by hour have lost the fight With ale, but dauntless still lurch to the fray, Do not go fretful into that cold light. Grave men, their ancient wisdom growing trite As tongues sit tangled in the things they say, Stay, stay and watch the biding of the night. And you, my brother, fixed in my blear sight, Forsake not now your sodden friends, I pray. Do not go fretful into that cold light. Stay, stay and watch the biding of the night.
The Year That Betty White Died The year that Betty White died she was ninety-nine, just two weeks shy of a century— and what a century she almost had! Back in twenty-two when Betty White was born folks wouldn’t stop not talking about the plague that had just wrapped up when Betts came on the scene in Illinois, the pride and joy of Christine Tess and Horace White— and here she was ten decades on or so with Here we go again! Betty said, I bet. She was twenty-three when they dropped the bomb (they launched the iPhone when I was twenty-three so it was quite the year for the both of us). Betty White was still kicking when Kennedy kicked the bucket, when video killed the radio star, and when we all collectively killed the Great Barrier Reef. And on the last day of the year of the year that Betty White died (the seventh day of our Saviour’s birth) What a century that was! I wonder what the next will bring? Betty said, I bet.
Prufrock Singin’ in the Rain Let us go then, you and I, When the thunderclouds clamour against the sky Like a baby squalling on a changing table; Let us go, through sodden inundated streets, On pavement spread with sheets Of endless leaping downward sweeping swells, Of sidewalk rivulets and pothole wells: Streets that flow mysterious half-liquescent, The blacktop opalescent, A charmed Gene Kelly kind of situation… Oh, do not ask, “Why do it?” Let us go and splash right through it!
Hourglass Draw thriftless on your trove of years your life to spend when you are young— the years that pass like grains of sand that slip their way (look closely) through the hollow of an hourglass. The years will pass and those you love grown older too will watch each day (please understand) as through your grasp the slow sands run— life’s dividend is paid in tears when you are gone.
Kyle Gervais teaches Classical Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, where he lives in a nicely wheelchair-accessible house with his husband and two cats. He has poems published and forthcoming in Arion, Canadian Literature, Defenestration, Eunoia Review, Literary Imagination, oddball magazine, PRISM international, and Triggerfish Critical Review.