Three Poems By James Owens

January at Five in the Afternoon

Sun on snow too bright a shine: blind-
ness, migraine, glister of frostbite,
all day as if we lived in the mind 
of a child tirelessly saying the word white.

As evening lowers over the fields of snow
that earlier burned in merciless purity,
we find a  kind, scumbled greyness now, 
sleep in the child and in the sky, growing heavily.
New Year's Elegy Ending in Blankness

The will to close this winter poem—
“Snow veils flounce
in stubble fields beneath the steel-grey dome
of troubled sky, as once,

in other weather, the subtle scarf
wind teased free,
that bound her hair up red and then loosed itself
to the air's rapacity....”

—is not in me today. Snow blows down,
wind-shapes twist,
untwist, no trope to bind the spirit, gone
as fallows whiten fast.
An End

Some goddamned Thursday dribbles from the clocks.
What pulse, what dim rhythm, stumbles and locks?

James Owens’s poems and translations appear widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Christian Century, Dappled Things and Vita Poetica. He lives in a small town in northern Ontario.

One comment

  1. James Owens is a marvelous poet. I think he’s one of the VERY best living American poets. He deserves much more recognition.


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