Suburban Spring; Dylan Thomas, 5 a.m.; The Year That Betty White Died; Prufrock Singin’ in the Rain; Hourglass

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!

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.