“The Hole”

Click here to listen to Tom Sleigh read this poem. Out in the garden, the wind was like a dog Digging in the snow, digging with its nails To make a bed to lie down in against the freezing air:

And in my exhaustion, my stupefied numb thought
Dug and dug its way down to where I knew
You were—though how could I believe it?

Once, your irony and honesty refused
To let you say, “Oh yes, my son the genius!”
When I showed you a poem—saying with Groucho deadpan,


As you handed me back the paper, the typed words
Already a little smudged: “Hopkins is a good poet.”
And then you recited, “Margaret are you grieving

Over goldengrove unleaving? … ” winking
At the poets not yet born … poets who would
Come after me, poets who would not believe

There was any such woman as you,
Who would say of them and their poetry,
Shrugging a little, smiling your sly, lopsided grin:

“How old are you, hon? From what I’ve read,
Your sex life must be very important to you.”
Digging in the snow, digging with its nails

Down deep in the snow, the wind kept trying
To hollow a hole deep enough to escape its own bitter
Blowing of snow around the frozen garden.