Poem for Professor Frye
… ‘the pale dawn of longing,’ ‘the broken collar-bone of
silence,’ ‘the massive eyelids of time,’ ‘the crimson tree
of love.’ I have made these up myself, and they are free to
any poet who wants them …
—Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism
The pale dawn of longing descends,
ruthless and punctual in its disdain.
The soul, benumbed, dares not to face
the world outside the window frame,
and grips the bedclothes tight and close.
Father Time, with his massive eyelids
and crooked nose, has little time
for such inconsequence. He notes
the curled-up form and balled-up sheets,
and scorns the timorous race of men.
The silence glows like a broken bone
in an X-ray, where the flesh is dark,
and darker still the ghostly heart
that waters the crimson tree of love.