Tripartite Me

I felt the slush and snow beneath
I saw the ice beyond;
The steamy clouds hung overhead
Beside the sleeping pond.
And thought, as water changes when
It cools or as it warms:
So I am daily changing into
My own ternate forms

When I’m at work, I’m ice
And not because frozen through:
But because math’s unchanging
And ’cause math is what I do.
I couldn’t very well decide
To go and change its laws:
I’m sure I would get fired, it’s
In some small contract clause

When I’m at home, I’m liquid
And it may sound sort of strange:
But with the other people there
I’ve had to learn to change.
To go this way or that way as
New circumstance compounds:
But still, while liquid, stay within
A set of family bounds

Now, when I write, I’m steam and mist
I’m free to float on air:
To rise up in imagining
And to go anywhere.
To look down from above on any
Scene I choose that day;
Or wander lonely, as a cloud
As Wordsworth liked to say

So as I see the scene before me
Silent in the snow;
I realize the unity
Above, beside, below —
As water changes when it must
From cold calm to hot strife:
So I must change my form, if I’m
To keep
A balanced


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