'Hull Pond in January,' Poem by Chard deNiord | Poetry | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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'Hull Pond in January,' Poem by Chard deNiord

by

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for Rayna

A small figure out on the ice grows

small against the distance, not quite

skimming yet, slide stepping into

harmless pratfalls—a blade gone

errantly out or in against the inductive

of balance.

"Not too far!" her mother calls.

"The ice is thick."

Across the lake an auger

drills infinitely into the crust.

Trout swim slowly around in their sleep

like morals in a callous heart.

The figure

feels them under his feet and decides to drill

there; no, there.

The sky, darkening, slows

or so it seems in the January light, then halts

altogether.

A sheet of cold

ascends the ice to form a zone between

her skates and voice.

The surface freezes deeper,

then shifts against the banks, cracking down

this winter's spine from one end to the other.

Chard deNiord is Vermont's poet laureate. "Hull Pond in January" was published in his first book, Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). He lives in Westminster West.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Hull Pond in January"