by Hazel Hall
I am less of myself and more of the sun;
The beat of life is wearing me
To an incomplete oblivion,
Yet not to the certain dignity
Of death.They cannot even die
Who have not lived.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,…………….,,,The hungry jaws
Of space snap at my unlearned eye,
And time tears in my flesh like claws.
If I am not life’s, if I am not death’s,
Out of chaos I must re-reap
The burden of untasted breaths.
Who has not waked may not yet sleep.
Hazel Hall was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1886, but moved at a young age to Portland, Oregon where she would live the rest of her life. She published three volumes of poetry during her relatively short career. Hall survived scarlet fever at age 12 and used a wheel chair for the rest of her life.
I have just recently discovered Hall’s poetry, and I am surprised at how fresh her voice sounds and relevant. Her words have aged well. Though the poem Flash is not a traditional sonnet, it has the backbone of a sonnet that Hall has made original by reduction, not addition and in a flash, made it her own.
In Hall’s poem Two Sewing, I enjoy her power of description, rhythm, and metaphor, the rain stitching the earth together, through the eyes of one who has seen the cracks from a drought. Living in Portland, rain is a frequent companion, a metronome, by which days and seasons can be measured. Spring will soon arrive and it will arrive at the end of a needle of rain.
by Hazel Hall
The Wind is sewing with needles of rain.
With shining needles of rain
It stitches into the thin Cloth of earth.
In, In, in, in. Oh, the wind has often sewed with me.
One, two, three. Spring must have fine things
To wear like other springs. Of silken green the grass must be
Embroidered. One and two and three.
Then every crocus must be made
So subtly as to seem afraid
Of lifting colour from the ground;
And after crocuses the round
Heads of tulips, and all the fair
Intricate garb that Spring will wear.
The wind must sew with needles of rain,
With shining needles of rain,
Stitching into the thin
Cloth of earth, in,
In, in, in,
For all the springs of futurity.
One, two, three