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Ultima Thule

Fall 2016 - Vol. 58, No. 4


This poem appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.



sonetto caudato

The winter doesn’t want her pale perfection
Broken. Her ice-fields shine with candied frost.
The milky pond will harbor no reflection
Of what the earth’s determined must be lost,
And snow-white birches stand like patient brides
Within a blizzard quiet as a dream,
And wait to be kissed, or not, as she decides.
A white fog hangs above a lifeless stream.
Snow flurries lift and settle back, like doves,
While, given to her crystalline safekeeping,
Skeletal elms bow deeply in their groves.
Life holds the ghostly posture of the sleeping,
And the land grows silent, hushed by a snapping wind
Sweet as the peace we’re promised in the end.
                                        But underneath the snows
That would erase a man’s footstep, or his trail
Of blood, with the worm, the maggot, and the snail
                                        Something horrible grows,
Something moving through the land, and flooding
Buried things, like light, like sugar, budding   
                                        In the raucous calls of the crows,
Enchanted with the music wolves make of
The hunt, a darkness, rising, merciless as love.


Ryan Wilson was born in Griffin, Georgia, and holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and Boston University. Recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in such journals as 32 Poems, First Things, the Hopkins Review, and the Sewanee Review. A doctoral candidate at The Catholic University of America, Wilson lives with his wife in Baltimore.