Walter Hess

For Jennie – Thinking of her dance while looking out
at the back lawn toward the lake.

Shakespeare said, “God match me with a good dancer.”
I know the sky dances – cloud choruses,
So does the lake, wind partnered,
Sky partnering its costume.
And of course the moon and clouds – who partners whom?
Only the sun ever soloes, and the aurora borealis
Is its own colored chorus.
And aspen boughs that murmur on the wind
As waiting for their entrance on the stage.
And birds like petals saying here I am,
And then that pine, tall branch extended
Weaves in the wind, first waltzes, then boleros.
The quick flit at the feeder of black capped Chickadees –
She dances the heart’s truth.


the boy saw:

The moon in a slot of sky
between the roofs of two houses.

Metal cobbles like shiny
backs of beetles — pieces of armor in a

A yellow leaf shaped like
a heart or the tip of a spear flew
up against the steel-gray sky.

A house that showed a corner
of shattered masonry;
thin mud colored bricks.

The hands held feeling like
the orange light of a candle in a narrow

On the white walls of a house
black lines.

Behind the calcimined walls
pictures of fish swallowing
their tails.

The blank faces of the houses and the
cylindrical trees.

This was 1937 or 38.

About Time

Inside my son plays Miles;
outside the lake grows gray.
The woods, an oily green that says
go home.
I hear Chopin, Scriabin;
bass and piano like the darkening wood.
Then Davis with this longing blues,
a yearning gleaned from light.
The dark wood yields a hollow longing,
flute and harp, some Mozart sounds.

The gray breaks up,
blue threads the clouds, the sky;
a mottled light out on the deck.

Down here there are no colors of our own
I only see what the changing sky allows;

I held him once.
Hard for me to say
that Miles is Mozart
But I listen.