Part IX  



Chair-scrape. Made another glass of tea,

Sat stirring, staring down: an open book

In which a painting (path into a woodAsterisk

Of shadows and delights) hangs on a wall

(Pale Souls, Dead Fire: Vladolai Nabogol).

SPACERGently its dream begins: an open page

Of snow black footprints cut across, and melt--

Gray slush, black boots--a reader makes her way,

Walks on into the imprint of a path,



Part I   Notes I
Part II
Notes II
Part III
Notes III
Part IV
   Notes IV
Part V
   Notes V
Part VI
   Notes VI
Part VII
   Notes VII
   Notes VIII
Part IX
   Notes IX
Part X
   Notes X
Part XI
   Notes XI
Part XII
   Notes XII

©, Acknowledgments
The Author


  630   Contains the haunted, hollow wood it threads;

Her name is Hilda Lorris, and she limpsAsterisk

Almost imperceptibly; her face

(Angular, abrupt, intelligent)

Is red and stinging from an argument

About a couple of kopecks worth of cheese--

And stale cheese at that, the kind that comes

Wrapped in a torn-off scrap of paper bag

With price scrawled on it by an indolent

Fellow behind the counter, preoccupied


With the devil knows what, a horse he'd like to buy

Of a rich chestnut color and then outfit

With all the finest harness (and why not

With silver fittings, while he's at it, yes,

And two more make a troïka), that turns outAsterisk

To be some shriveled rind-piece put aside

To feed the dog, but wrapped up by mistake--

She'd stomped away, straight into the woods

(A sloping forest, bristling in the wind),

Leaving (she thinks) her muffler behind


(It's in her sleeve--its gray woolen fringe

Wadded up against her underarm,

Making the old coat list uncomfortably

To one side). She sniffs, walks on, head down,

Past green fircones jacketed with ice,

Where crossing boughs brush shadows from the snow,

Not going back. The wood is wide and lit;

Soft distances abound, with silent squirrels.

Will it drizzle? Sprinkles perforate the snow?


Snow slumps on quartz and trembling needles; wind

Blows down unprinted slopes, up slipping drifts,

Toward houses the path implies, through world the woods

Return and sound; within deep, resinous,

Dim, fragrant glades, a few fir-cones fall--

She stops and stoops. With reddened, ungloved hands

Adjusts a snowcrammed buckle, murmurs, stands

And, plunging fists in pockets, walks again

Without a limp. Am I to live on scraps?

Spring rain will freeze, ice grip everything!

Boot follows boot. The wood begins to melt.





Gray patches slip into the path, rough squares,

A postbox in the middle of the trees,

A smell of pancakes and potato peels,

The switching sound her feet make with each swipe

Of cleared sidewalk, glistening Berlin,Asterisk

Black, glissive wheels and slap of thin-soled steps,Asterisk

As knot-holes become eyes, snow rising steam,

Steam breathing mouths, a moving city crowd

Intent on business, clanging bells, a tram

Gliding downhill into a lurching turn--





SPACERNothing but paper in a reader's hand.





     Part VIII       Part X