. Caring Now, while Winter’s noisy emptiness moans In the flue, Dearest, look out at all these Somberly unimpatient silent trees Holding aloft their abject skeletons: Can new flesh somehow sprout from human bones Like April’s tender leaves? Can memories Of touches lost refind their first surprise As roots grope darkward to refresh those crowns? Striking, those vegetable paragons Of unrelenting hopefulness! What frees Us, prisoners of this weak flesh, to rise Above our towering need? Caring postpones Our gaping night. Caring buds new leaves where We stand, weeping. Dear Heart, we care! We care! . . The Hearth Altar A fire cannot tend itself. It needs Fuel that time drags in. The hardwood weights My arms to serve the appetite it feeds, Slaves to the heat consumption radiates. I measure out my days in lengths of wood. All other tasks get punctuated in My kneeling sacrifices to this good And faithful savior of my wintered skin. A sudden chill: I shiver in my chair And jump to duty where my waiting’s wanted. By words distracted for a moment there, I almost took the god of warmth for granted. . . Rime This rime is on the grass But will sublimely pass And then the grass will go To sleep beneath the snow. . . Lionel Willis was born in Toronto in 1932. He has been a mosaic designer, portrait painter, watercolorist, biological illustrator, field entomologist and professor of English Literature as well as a poet. His verse has appeared in A Miscellany of Prints and Poems, The Canadian Forum, Candelabrum Poetry Magazine, Descant, Dream International Quarterly, Harp Strings Poetry Journal, Hrafnhoh, Iambs & Trochees, Light, Romantics Quarterly, The Classical Outlook, The Society of Classical Poets, The Deronda Review, The Eclectic Muse, The Fiddlehead, The Formalist, The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, Troubadour and White Wall Review, and in two books, The Dreamstone and Other Rhymes (The Plowman, 2003) and Heartscape, a Book of Bucolic Verse (EIDOLON, 2019).