It is too early to take a nap.
His daily trip to town
put off for now,

he must wait for someone
to clear snow from the walk to the car.
The book on his lap is open

to a poem by Robert Frost,
The Lesson for Today.
The lesson, the old man liked to say,

was that some poets
know too much for their
own damn good. Mr. Frost for

instance, was said to have
gone away in sourness.
Perhaps he felt he had lost

the quarrel, or it was no
longer worth the arguing.
The old man wags his finger,

a battle flag in the empty air.
He had a wife and children once.
Sometime, long ago, there was a quarrel.

Outside the sparrows and jays
quarrel over what’s left of last week’s
seed. Their lives too have lately fallen

into agitated sorrow. There are
fewer songs and seeds in the yard
or even words in books to bring

on anything more. Fingering pages
he begins to drift, wondering if it is,
after all, just a lover’s quarrel.


*After reading February Morning by Hayden Carruth