M A Schaffner


In the morning we woke to snow. Overnight
our yards had become marble, sculpted in peace
and apparent permanence.

In 1938,
Eisenstein created the Battle on the Ice
with tons of crushed alabaster and salt.
In August, in the Ukraine. I should think

the set remains, sometimes crossed by rueful muzhiks
puffing papirosa like the mailed extra
whose like exhaust signified cold.

We have our own
stone clad landscapes, each one presented as if
it stood for the real thing, a convoy of substance
from the Ministry of Film.

Over here,
we have our elections and investments,
stages set with alabaster or ice.
They seem alot alike.

So many swear
to stone in tribal chants, that you deny
at the risk of heresy or, worse, betray
your ignorance, though the first thing that melts

in the next day's sun is the memory of what
everyone knew would stay the same for years.

M A Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Senandoah, Texas Review, Atlanta Review, Yomimono (Japan) among others. A first collection, "The Good Opinion of Squirrels," won the Washington Writer's Center publication prize and the Columbia Book Award. A first novel, "War Boys," was publishe din Sept 2002 by Welcome Rain. When not writing poetry, Schaffner works as a civil servant in Washington, "where I spend my lunchtimes feeding the lineal descendants of the squirrels fed by Ambrose Bierce a century ago."


Poetrybay seeks fine poetry, reviews, commentary and essays without restriction in form or content, and reserves first electronic copyright to all work published. All rights to published work revert to the author following publication. All Email submissions should be in body of email text.

To submit poems write to:

PO Box 114 
Northport NY 11768
or email us at 

send comments to info@poetrybay.com

first electronic copyright 2004 poetrybay. 
all rights revert to authors

website comments to dpb@islandguide.com