A time of waiting

For the earthweal open link weekend.

january dawn frost

This is a time of waiting
for the light then the lit fire
the cold chased into the far corners
and the sun to rise perhaps
above the banks of fog.

Of waiting for the night
to close
then open on a million stars
and the cold to sharpen like
badger claws in the frozen bank

A cold time of watching
for signs that warm is swelling
the quick bursts of birdwings
and tracks through the frost.

This is a time of dark brilliance
shadows behind the sharp edge
of every blade, a blood-slowing deep time
and I long for it to end.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

20 thoughts on “A time of waiting”

  1. We do get eager for spring these dark days……….on sunny days, here on the west coast, it feels like early spring. But then we dont really get winter here. A beautiful poem.

  2. When did you come to my house? I must have missed you, although I’ve not been out for weeks. Joking aside, this is so close to the frozen bone – from the lighting of the fire to chase the cold into corners to the banks of fog and the millions of stars. What a fantastic simile to describe cold ‘like badger claws in the frozen bank’. I’ve already seen signs in our garden: green shoots and leaves of snowdrops and daffodils, more birds on the feeders, and new leaf buds in the honeysuckle vines – I hope they are not affected by the frost.

    1. Thank you, Kim. I think many old stone houses, even well-built ones are hard to heat. Ruins are even harder 🙂
      The greenery never really dies back here. It’s always green, and even after several nights of hard frost the roses are insisting on opening. I think honeysuckle is very resistant to cold, and usually comes back even after a really deep frost.

  3. No wonder they say the leading cause of death is birth — nightfall, dawn, the shudder of transformation, such times of “dark brilliance” are intolerable, pregnant to the point of breaking. We would say praise be to those crossroads, but in your surprising last line we see how intolerable such between-ness is. No wonder Atlas buckled holding up the world.

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