In 2010, for the first time since 1638, a total lunar eclipse of a full moon falls on the winter solstice—a stargazing event almost anyone in North America will be able to see before dawn Tuesday, weather permitting. – National Geographic
Anne Hutchinson has forgotten her place.
Be silent, woman. Cover your head and
shutter your eyes.
Receive the Word.
Obey. Was The Lord Thy God
not clear on these matters?
But Anne Hutchinson prefers the pulpit to the pew,
interprets Adam and Eve,
chafes at the Indian's yoke, and
what society would conscience that devil's tongue
flailing on free sin?
The dead child in your gut is
God's verdict, woman. These
walking papers are ours.
At Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Sunday 21 October,
the church of St. Pancras is struck by ball lightning
during afternoon service.
Four are dead, sixty injured.
The building gravely damaged.
Witnesses speak of strange darkness, of
dire flame. The roof blows open.
By God's mercy the priest is unhurt.
His wife is burnt in a pitiful manner.
The shattered skull of Robert Mead leaves an indentation in a pillar.
A Gentleman of good account flies violently against a wall, dies that night.
His son, sitting next to him, unmarked.
Some suffer burns to their bodies, but not their clothes.
The Scottish National Covenant is signed in Edinburgh.
The King's Men act Volpone at the Blackfriars.
Louis XIV is born. John Harvard dies.
Baghdad is captured and New Haven founded.
A nor'easter lashes Dorchester Bay, this year as in all others.
The Dutch settle Ceylon.
Galileo declares the speed of light finite and measurable.
Uptown, in Benedict Fountain Park,
a dog chases a stick as a rust-
red shadow swallows the moon.
The Horseshoe Lounge empties into 20th Street
a silt of loners and lovers, jukebox runners
posing as the traffic sighs around them.
Rumors say the rust-red curtain falls on a
retrogradient, black-on-blackest, more
death of hope than a sky of boneyards will hold, a
year we will all remember if we can claw our way clear.
The jukebox gutters into the bleeding sky:
Duran Duran, "New Moon on Monday."
I set no stock in omens.
I orient myself toward the true north in all midnights.
I point my boots toward home.
Drape those chains across the altar.
Release the moths when she says "I do."
Pour some coffee in Calliope, for
God's sake, and
prop her up over there,
by the organ grinder...
When the rite begins, forgive me.
Rose and shank draw blood,
sign of the cross and aftershock of flesh
against which you cross yourself.
A requiem for the wed: He speaks the sanctity of
marriage, the dignity of wedded love, the
grace of sacrament and the higher
mysteries of abandonment, rejection,
betrayal. The night is a vigil of candleflies, a
ligature of bared teeth.
Ah, love, let us be true
to one another, goose-stepping at spear-point
along a crumbling cliff-edge, where
raptors take the measure of
a sword-full sky.
Choirs of marionettes convulse our
husks toward the bridal chamber.
The most we can dream are orchids
fluorescing in a bonecage.
Meditation: Monarch Mountain
Aspens white-barked, gold.
Winter is coming, early
snow on Monarch Pass.
New Year's Eve, 2009: whiteout.
Tractor-trailer, tin-thin guardrail, thousand foot
fear slicker than the road.
Stop along here, child.
Stone spine of America.
These hills are our bones
Originally hailing from Winston-Salem, NC, Samuel Smith now lives, works and writes in Denver, CO. He'd love it if poets sold millions of copies of their work and played stadium tours, but since that's not the planet he was born on he labors away in the exciting world of marketing by day and plies his craft in the evenings and on weekends, which never last long enough. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in places like The New Virginia Review, Poet & Critic, The Cream City Review, storySouth, Pemmican, Uncanny Valley, Manifest West and The Dead Mule. He is the executive editor and poetry editor for Scholars & Rogues, an online journal of culture, arts, literature and politics.