Author

Elizabeth Cain

Hand-Painted Note Cards

Matted African Prints

SPRING STORM

listen
reach for the flashlight
4 a. m. darkness like an animal crouched
that sound
my fear spills out the front door
with the pale beam
it's snowing
wind from the death-season stirred up
 

listen
is the lion down on the path
where I saw him last week
waiting in April for the red colt
who sleeps in the grass at noon?
the sound has a hunger
what is it?
the licking of a gaskin sheathed in ice?
a chestnut throat strangling?


listen
the horses are circling circling
hooves thrum on the blossoms
the white blooms from the night sky


listen
grey geese cry overhead going home
the cougar pads his soft retreat
snow whispers to the blind ground

Barn Wood Framed Original Poetry

LONE ENTRY

     I climb where snows and winds and stones collide
     in alpine oceans racing seaward, swells
     of August blossoms shining on a tide
     that cry their way to breath, the bones and shells
     of ice-age in their roots, their mirror leaves
     that blind me when I try to give them name.
     I wade through woods, the wild tangle grieves
     for the ancient embryos of life I claim
     striding the trail's heart, and where I pause
     more wounds than I can count fall to the stream
     and in that swimming darkness feel the jaws
     of light reach down and close upon the scream.
     I hold as still as bedrock.  I suspend
     my elements within the water's bend.

ENDINGS

I have lost my voice in this glacial country.
My words can't bear the crush
of snow,
the sad-eyed ravens gathering
where hunters left some ragged meat,
some bone,
the whitetails shivering in the darkening woods
with summer's young.
I go into the frozen dusk
with grain for the deer, small comfort.
My huskies curl in straw,
some beds now empty.
Past that a few geldings stir in their stalls
for warmth.
Pastures fade where horses grazed,
where horses died on the blazing green,
with crippled dogs,
one ancient cat.
Burn-piles flare up in the twilight wind,
graves all around,
my grief still hammering the ground
for one last glimpse of silver mane
or amber eye.
But the snow falls,
the snow falls
drowning the eager sparks,
the glowing coal-bed core
that would be fire.

African Photo Metal Art 

            LAST RITE

            There is something in the meadow
            sundown red against the snow.
            It could be a mule deer cut off
            from the herd
            or that young mare of Tylers that broke
            from his pack string last summer
            when the grass was hock-deep green
            and the nights balmy.           
         

            I go out and open the barn door.
            There's a little hay left.
            My horses are all gone
            to winter pasture farther south.
            I have stayed too long at the end of a lane
            that never gets plowed
            and now this early storm
            has obliterated even the way
            to walk out.           
          

            I wait in the twilight
            with the rifle over my lap
            and wonder if I can do it.
            I haven't eaten for five days.
            There's plenty of firewood and water
            but the loneliness is worse than the
            hunger.
            Maybe I'll just keep the thing company
            in the lovely sweet straw.
                  

            I have taken deliberate steps
            through icy air
            heavy powder
            to get here.
            The cabin seems years away.
            The animal comes closer.
            I can almost feel his breath
            through the cracks in the old wood
            his wariness
            his hope.
            Our footfalls merge
            on the trail to a warm death.