February: The Boy Breughel
The birches stand in their beggar's row: Each poor tree Has had its wrists nearly Torn from the clear sleeves of bone, These icy trees Are hanging by their thumbs Under a sun That will begin to heal them soon, Each will climb out Of its own blue, oval mouth; The river groans, Two birds call out from the woods And a fox crosses through snow Down a hill; then, he runs, He has overcome something white Beside a white bush, he shakes It twice, and as he turns For the woods, the blood in the snow Looks like the red fox, At a distance, running down the hill: A white rabbit in his mouth killed By the fox in snow Is killed over and over as just Two colors, now, on a winter hill: Two colors! Red and white. A barber's bowl! Two colors like the peppers In the windows Of the town below the hill. Smoke comes From the chimneys. Everything is still. Ice in the river begins to move, And a boy in a red shirt who woke A moment ago Watches from his window The street where an ox Who's broken out of his hut Stands in the fresh snow Staring cross-eyed at the boy Who smiles and looks out Across the roof to the hill; And the sun is reaching down Into the woods Where the smoky red fox still Eats his kill. Two colors. Just two colors! A sunrise. The snow.
From Selected and New Poems, published by W.W. Norton & Co., 1983. Copyright © 1983 by Norman Dubie. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
The author of numerous collections of poetry, Norman Dubie is the recipient of the Bess Hokin Prize and the 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.
Date Published: 1983-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/february-boy-breughel