A Member of the Donner Party Considers the Works of Berkeley and Hume
To the idea of snow let it be added
the perception of hunger, cold, the stark
everyday misery of inadequate supply:
too little to feed the mind, too much.
The perception of hunger, cold, the stark
snow falling like the afterthoughts of God,
too little to feed the mind, too much
like something shed, shaken off. Endlessly
the snow falls, like the thoughts of God,
scraps, tidbits, the floor-sweep
shed and endlessly shaken off
in the bloody butcher shop of the mind.
The scraps and tidbits, the floor-sweep
have filled up a lake and built up a mountain,
in the bloody butcher shop of the mind,
to keep us here, to not let us pass.
To fill up a lake and build up a mountain,
morsel by morsel, with the products of Springfield
will keep us here forever, will not let us pass,
as we travel forward and back in time.
Morsel by morsel, the products of Springfield
are, every day, misery, inadequate supply
for which we travel forward and back. In time,
to the idea of snow we shall all be added.
Nick Norwood’s third full volume of poems, Gravel and Hawk, won the Hollis Summers Prize in Poetry and was published by Ohio University Press in April 2012. His other books are A Palace for the Heart (2004), The Soft Blare (2003), and the limited edition, fine press book Wrestle (2007). His poems have appeared in many journals, including The Paris Review, Southwest Review, Western Humanities Review, The Wallace Stevens Journal, and Poetry Daily.