Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Snow Shade’ and other poems by Brooks Robards

By: Brooks Robards


White shadows, the draff
of snowfalls long banished
by spring’s brew, linger
on the lee side of fence posts
piñons, junipers, all objects
fit to stand before the sun.

Not enough to green plant life
their icy foam intoxicates
the dark sides of desert hills
a brief defiance of sun’s parch.
In these leavings, these flakes
the cold season insists on itself.



Landforms line up
over wind-bobbing
buffalograss. Fence grids
stretch taut between posts
of wood-weathered gray
top-dressed with barbed wire.

Juniper tufts dark-green
dot the ochered, quilt-top prairie.
Pitched beacons, they soak up
sun in front of blue-gray waves
upland on the horizon.

High clouds undulate in place
above this grounded backdrop
a bleak-boned gift to the eye.



Silence stuns on a walk
through desert grasslands
as sun sinks horizon low.
One winging crow calls
a prop plane ambles
a jet rumbles before quiet
re-invades sky, its cloud
streaks tinctured red.

Lessening light so greens
chamisa, its yellow-tipped
fruit, I stop, turn to see if sun
severed the blackened hills
it just slipped behind. No.

Then coyote calls split
the soundless space.



A map that marks a region’s hills
tames the wilds into even elevations.
I climbed over that rock at 450 feet
but 50 feet later, where was I?

Peaks appeal, but then it’s all
a rush downhill till the next rise.
What of waves of brush, saplings?
A map makes no allowances for them.
I like my woods unruly, whether
wearing summer green or black.



Molten snow hides ice
but not forest traffic
busy in a crisscross
of animal tracks.

Wind carries sounds
of a child’s cry
through woods
that creak, groan.

To stop, to listen
for a second time.
Deer bound downhill
a wolf lopes away.

To ask, to wonder, who
has been abandoned.



Birds at the feeder
say it’s spring.
Sparrows, swallows
chickadees, juncos—
they are there, the light
is there, but green nowhere.

More dying must take
place before the green
or wind’s howl will
hold onto the ground
keep trees, heart frozen
locked in the past season.

They make such determined
optimists, those damn birds
with their defiance of gravity
their incessant song.


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