POETRY by J.E. Bennett

SEDGES

All winter, above, under snow,
their hearts fed on dank earth,
their fronds loved the wind.

Between storms, a crow landed
and squawked to them,
cawed like an only friend.

In warming, winter’s dross
was a hint of something more
than promise and blind faith–

the curlew’s cry, in portent,
rent the still air,
and the lake surface took it

with calm rippling; while
between the lake and the road
three large wooden crosses,

erected by a man who remains
nameless for his own reasons,
lay toppled by unbelievers.

A veneer of old snow and ice
furled about their fringes
like hypocrisy as the sedges,

a Greek chorus of unruffled
witnesses in a semi-circle,
stood, chanting silent strophes.

Above their fronds, riven by
wind, was an oblivious air,
the sky darkened in complicity.

OLD BONES

Old bones, he said,
I’m beat, my nose is bent,
I’m living on cold scones.
And this old thing
I’ve been working on so long
like a game of solitaire
seems tarried out.

There’s no romance left
in the deal–the cards
are old, the faces the same.
I need a new game.

It would be different
if I could make one up,
play it day and night
till I got its drift,
then drift with it–

It would be like church,
telling of a real heaven.
It could take me away,
and I could rest in its pew
for a while, perhaps.

But I’d really like to be
on that orange horizon there,
like the angel, haloed,
adrift in its own being.

How un-Promethean it is, though,
captive to stained glass.

J. E. Bennett, a technical/free-lance writer, has published poems and stories in various journals in the United States and abroad. He has taught writing at West Virginia University and the University of Delaware. His story in the Summer 2001 issue of descant won the Frank O’Connor award.