“The Vise”

Listen to Mary Baine Campbell reading this poem.

The head is held
In a vise of gold.
Whatever wind may
Whip my face
I can look only
One way.

It is not
That the world is unkind.
Kind hands once touched
My lips and eyes
To say whatever such
Touches say.

And every day
A spoon, laden
With softer gold
Of honey
Forces me.

From all directions
Lightning tells us
What is lost
Or burnt
In the collapsing

Tonight, a monsoon.
The diamond-fall of rain
Bruises my face
Washes honey
From it, and
All else.

But in the vise
I can still stare—
Through brilliant
Obliterations of storm—
At what is
Still there.