A Life in Little

In the thin-sifted snow are tracks
of living things now dying of winter.
Far from the light the rank burrows
pulse with the rapid heartbeats of
small creatures struggling to stave off
……………………..the certainties of cold.

It has come down to this: this room
with bed and chair, a dirty window,
someone who will look in on him,
owing affection from the past,
small talk while waiting out the time,
……………………..blanket against the cold.

Here nuances of days mean little.
No relatives will gather round.
A futile life – will you do better? –
shames the reluctant visitor
who, debt discharged, now scurries to
……………………..the refuge of the cold.

Jan Schreiber

Jan Schreiber

Jan Schreiber was Poet Laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts from 2015 to 2017. His books include Digressions (1970), Wily Apparitions (1992), Bell Buoys (1998), Peccadilloes (2014), and Bay Leaves, as well as two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. His criticism is collected in his book Sparring with the Sun (2013). He teaches in the BOLLI program at Brandeis University and runs the annual Symposium on Poetry Criticism at Western Colorado University. His collection of Paul Valéry’s poems in translation will be published later this year by Cambridge Scholars.
Jan Schreiber

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Author: Jan Schreiber

Jan Schreiber was Poet Laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts from 2015 to 2017. His books include Digressions (1970), Wily Apparitions (1992), Bell Buoys (1998), Peccadilloes (2014), and Bay Leaves, as well as two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. His criticism is collected in his book Sparring with the Sun (2013). He teaches in the BOLLI program at Brandeis University and runs the annual Symposium on Poetry Criticism at Western Colorado University. His collection of Paul Valéry’s poems in translation will be published later this year by Cambridge Scholars.