Freezing Rain

Most of the things a poet has to say
are tentative, lists of foggy clues
and suppositions-an unattested version
of the way the wind breathes at night,
an essay at atmosphere, predictions
as unreliable as weather forecasts. I stab
at the truth with a pencil, sometimes,
moved too suddenly to words by the shadings
on a cloud, or its shape, shivering
at a hint of thunder (sure that it
means something) .

But in the lines set down on paper
all suggestions become categories-
intuition or illusion edited to sound
like logic. Naked ideas turn assertive
in print, sharp, as intricate
as the edges of a woods in winter seen
against a blank sky. The most fluid
of impressions hardens like frozen
rain. A cold front is passing over.
I hazard a guess; you take it
for reality.

by Luci Shaw

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