George Hiles

Song, with Instruments—

I’d like to sing a new song, but all my carols
sort of sound the same: same names, same awe,
same snow in places where it doesn’t snow
often. My gods all follow the same laws,

it seems, even the ones that aren’t really gods.
Who can tell exactly the glory of stars?
I offer what amounts to mere tribute—
that weird word redolent of wars

or avoiding them, more specifically, but I
am not a devotee of that kind of power.
I’m interested instead in the splendor of sky
stretched out over meadow, the way flurries scour

the grey. Is it enough to say it that way?
My fancy talk? The meadow won’t be moved,
I’m old enough to know that, but the words,
old signifiers, might at least feel loved,

which is all my carol could do. And since I’m not
the only one—trees are glad and singing
this time of year—I will join in, in my way,
no way to know just what our joy is bringing.

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