Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
Next year's music
Next year's music
There was a snowstorm in the glass globe settling slow,
When I shook it and held it, and watched it make real snow.
There was a crystal of already old music from a music box,
When I let go the tight silver crank, and set the tiny locks,
A long time ago, when I was a. boy, before or between the wars,
It was all a swirl then, snow and music, between those wars.
I tumbled in a white cloth untorn from hand to hand to hand,
The trouble of growing up, to want, and not to understand,
Grandfathers with my name making history, something I wore,
But I wore it out. The weaving where it seemed strongest tore.
The music snowing in my head at night now is time run wild,
Hurry darling, where are you, and silence, you in our child.
There is a ridiculous joy, too, wetting and narrowing my eyes,
In changes of color while the hours change; in rightness of size,-
Beautiful, absurd, inevitable, and never again and everyone's, -
This heavy winter moving toward spring by water-drops and suns.
There is a tide of sunlight poured in the windows of the room,
Warm on wood, good, golden, and unbearable at morning at home.
There is this crazy luck, when the dead past pays double interest
On love and listening, and tomorrow sudden as a poem unguessed, -
This painful and unsimple joy of growing older, angel and animal
Crowded; motion of mind nobody notices till after; the one call
Waited and unimaginable, a touch, light, what, a tone, a word,
Or spoken and I heard it spoken en, and did not know what I heard.
I shake the white web, and tumble in it now my son, who knows
All this and nothing. My storm, who is, and asks, and grows,
Next year's music will be tall enough for the fall of leaves
Drifting through sunlight, to drop wherever the wind drives.
They will go sideways slow, and lie on pine ground under fern,
All in the green air mix, rot, and be nothing there to mourn.
There will be wild talk, and Christmas, and flowers at the door.
There will be maps made, stars falling, and quartets to hear.
Earth will turn over into daylight always, as it did for you,
And pages you studied truth in be mine, and the books come true.
The boy and book facing the wind will grow up warm and hard,
And the years after next open in my hand, my heart, my head.