We forget so easily when the sun returns
the anguish of the sunless days
the freezing fog that pries the blood
from the veins and fills them with mist.
We forget the chill that runs in the marrow
brittle as starlight splitting sinew
and jabbing fingertips and toes
with fine bone splinters.
We forget the chimney that won’t draw
and the clammy cold of damp sheets
the shadows that gather in the corner
when the cats have fled.
We forget the dark despair
the emptiness where the heart beat red and racing
and the mournful sight of birds
searching for elusive food.
Elation the soaring of spirits
at the spread of golden light
is the erasure of memories
finger-flex in the tremulous warmth
and we forget what is always there
beneath the hedge
in the hollows where the mist lingers
and the stiffening of the plume-spread body
that will never fly into the sun again.
In the frost crisp they prowl
the growlers and scavengers
for leavings not frozen
though not worth the hot-blood mouthfuls
quivering deep in the frozen
holed in the dark.
Fox digs but dainty cat pads
are not diggers
and the cold bites through fancy fur.
Fox digs and the blood scent spills
twitching cat whiskers with longing
but even hard bread and cheese rind
are better than death.
Light pours, spreads
like melted butter,
silent as ice floes
across this winter,
with the sharp, dry callouses
of clawed bird feet,
clinging to life’s thread.
where other warm life spills,
this human part
and parcel of earth
behind cold glass.
No autumn this
chill and solid rain
no mellow fruitfulness of fruit
already fallen shrivelled in the heat
the brusque shift brutal
the slope too steep
no autumn flame fading
from fierce to mild memory
leaves blown already brown
sink beneath the torrents
to an ignoble end
sludge beneath heavy boots.
The ocean rises these days
to wash away the sun
the dust of summer
with melted ice in its breath
the ground bones of glaciers
and the world changes
the rough beast we have woken
slouching not to be born
but to devour our prattling
and sabre-rattling idiocy.
Wind winds through cracks and crannies, picking at
the insulation around the frames of window and door,
poking frigid fingers into spine and soup, chilling hot
food with a frozen flap of the hand. Wind whines in
the chimney, rattling doors to get in, riffling the pages
of an open book, rustling like dead leaves or flame-
crackle in the stove. Wind wins the battle with defences,
teasing the cracked plaster apart to whisper with thin lips,
This is the way of spring, the bright promises made, the
singing and the shooting, the sharp cut and thrust of birth.
weeps tears of frost,
lost among the grass.
In the dark, stars spoke,
broke their silent dance,
enhancing the night.
From pods, white furred,
bird shakes the seeds,
feeds fire-spark quick.
Thick mists curl,
furling, swirling, pearl bright
light of a year grown old.
A collaborative poem with the Oracle. Perseverance through to the last page of words often brings a hopeful ending.
dogs my steps
of broken glass
beneath this sky
that none can warm
no breath melt the ice
in wild mornings
broken things die
enfolded by clouds
and the night
yet they wake
blue as angels
in the soft vastness of home
For Frank Tassone’s weekly haikai challenge, three gogyohka on the theme of the cold moon. The painting is by Marianne von Werefkin. Her moon is a sun.
in this cold sky
of dark night stretching
from the receding shores
of dawn and dusk
the moon lights
how can we say the moon is cold
when stone cracks and dead things lie
when we know our own hearts?
In this wintry world of night
moonlight is the only warmth
cold the sky
cold the earth
cold the stones
where hearts should lie
not the moonlight’s silvery touch
Kerfe’s owl again.
night is cold
full of stars and owls
bound in streamers of moonlight
night is cold
windows run wet
breath steams and streams
while the owl mocks
owl song trembles
tremolo among the dark trees
winged grace quavering
in the chill of starlight
moon round and pale
silent as owl-flight
casts a chill eye
for the night is cold
This world turning spins cold where heat fluttered, languid
as flower heads, spinning frost webs among the green stalks.
It takes so little to chase the comfort from this space,
so little to chill the blood and spin the fear that the cold
will dig deeper this year until it reaches the core,
and the life blood will spill out in a stream of mist.
Birds hang in the cooling sky, hunting; night things
creep and stalk the frosted meadow, the fallen leaf-crisp,
and I shrink, cringe away from the night, the dark, the cold
wind and tend the flickering flames in the fickle grate.