Tuesday Poetry by James Goertel: Ave Atque Vale and A Tarantella of the Snow

Tuesday Poetry by James Goertel: Ave Atque Vale and A Tarantella of the Snow

AVE ATQUE VALE and A TARANTELLA OF THE SNOW from James Goertel’s new poetry collection, Under The Same Moon, use the season of winter as a canvas to paint this week’s poems upon.

Tuesday Poetry by James Goertel Vale Atque Vale and A Tarantella of the Snow

Allegory of Winter by Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter with Aeolus’ Kingdom of the Winds, 1683, Wilanów Palace


You held summer inside you,
kept it to yourself,
for yourself
to be certain
you could call upon
its long light, sure heat,
even its sometimes rain
to fall warm upon your skin
growing benumbed
not by way of
winter’s cold shoulder,
but via betrayals of the flesh
you never even touched
though born into your heart
with such fury the mind
simply heeded the call
of fire, of heat, of June
beginning, ending, beginning again,
coaxing blooms from
rock worn round
through a thousand seasons’
freeze, thaw, wind, water
and worn around your neck
as a reminder of the weight
of love carried along
even in its aftermath,
the hail and farewell to her
frozen in time,
a time she did not share with you
in any season,
all of which you have now named


And the Devil comes,
but he has come before
carrying a dead rose
and humming a lullaby,
and so I sit and stare, –

as his footsteps
come cold, come quietly, –
watch the snow falling silently,
a close-mouthed prayer from a sky
that has seen it all;

has seen me
walking side by side
with the Devil, a frozen dance
with death waiting like a wallflower
inside my heart;

has seen me through
the condensation
of my slow breath on
a window waiting
without motion, without emotion

for the wind to make a tarantella
of the snow, of my heart
as the Devil walks on
beyond this winter
to yet another season in Hell.


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon

James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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