Frozen morning

Frozen morning

The day is so cold,
the words freeze in my mouth,
drift like fog in this wintry air,

and no light relieves the chill
of frost-furred stalks.
Rime writes a cold story
across these fields

where no bird sings,
and nothing stirs this pause in time,
to reveal the dark dance of the stars.


Foggy horror snow

The white goddess whispers
and the fog obeys,
stripping birds’ bright raiment,
clad in bone and frost,
flying with ghosts.

On the second day of the big fog, I went outside only to feed the birds. Beneath my feet the white-furred grass crunched, and fingers of fog ran through my hair, its voice muttered in my ears.
Body heat fled, and the voice became my pulse, my pounding heart. Fingers numbed and I retreated indoors.
Birds fluttered close to the windows, pecking at the scattered seeds but more insistently around the window frames, as if looking for a way inside. They fluttered silently, voices, like their bright colours, leached away. Tapping.
Fog clung to the frosted grass blades, frost flakes filled the foggy air, clumping thicker until even the tall trees were too faint to see. At evening, the birds left, sucked into the fog, and night fell on perfect stillness.
On the third day we left the shutters closed, intimidated by the ghost-grey that pressed against the glass, where condensation trickled like tears, afraid to see faces in it. If the birds had returned, we heard no insect-tapping on the wood. Instead, we heard the cracking of ice.

The night is deep now, perhaps dark, but I suspect it will be grey, thick like city river water. There will be no sky no stars, no frost shimmer on the meadow, no moonlight. Only fog, grey, dirty, pale, like winding sheets unwound from ancient graves.
It presses against the shutters, the roof, and we hear it sigh. The tapping begins again, and it is not birds.

Fly before the wind, birds,
before winter jaws snap closed,
before the marrow freezes
and the song dies—
find the sun.

Neither sight nor sound

Neither sight nor sound

No sound from the block
of pale cold beyond the door,
the dense cloud fabric of the fog.

Not even the racing of the stream,
the cry of the owl
pierces this ineluctable winter pall.

No moon in sight, its light diffused in dark silver,
this anger is all, this clenching of the fist,
furious breath steaming with cold.

If I could, I would shift the axis of this world,
and keep all its beating hearts warm
until the morning.

Watching blue tits in a tree

Watching blue tits in a tree

Second day of no light,
the un-light of fog that sucks the life
out of the air, drips into the still-frozen stalks
and halts vision with a mizzled hand raised.

Soft-feathers flit from grey branch to branch,
powder grey blending with the soup,
and crows loom grey—
dull ditch water trickles.

Stones are no greyer,
no more substantial than the gem-birds,
leached of brilliance yet with life trilling,
a red thread, through the morning chill.

The foggy foggy fog

The foggy foggy fog

All day the fog has fogged, the mist misted,
and though the sky has blued above the white,
no sunlight falls.

The world is dim, no light lit,
and trees raise bare boughs
unbowed beneath the weight.

Rain rained a soak, the earth mired in quag
where feet, once sunk, will sink
and suck the mud-cling.

A bird birds
(it knows no other tricks),
where the hedge hedges field and bets,

and I clap chapped hands against the chill
that chills to the boniest bone,
marrowed with ice.

Hidden in the fog

Hidden in the fog

This is a misty place,
fog gathers like sheep’s wool,
blanketing the sky.

There are dark thoughts in the fog,
dark deeds among the wintry trees,
creeping with reflector vests.

Mist is sky fog,
rising and descending,
masking field furrows.

Blanket mist muffles
dog bark, gun bark,
the sounds, harrowing.

On the winter pool of the world


Cold is in the colour of the fog

that swallows stars and frozen grass.

Stark is the skeleton of the year

skin like blackened parchment, peeling

from tree trunk and bough.

Silence is in the air

where bird chatter should vibrate,

the seed gatherers and insect hunters, flocking,

starved with cold, no bright fluttering to waste.

Damp is in the grey cloud

that hangs where blue should glow

and sun and moon send light dancing

on the winter pool of the world.


When will it break,

the grip, tight as steel bands girt about?


When the sun will crack the ice

on dark puddles black as death,

and breathe life into silver fish,

the still stars, reflecting.

Phantom fog



We start the day in fog that clings so wet

And coats the trees in grey of mud made air.

Not bitter cold this solstice time and yet,

We start the day in fog that clings so wet.

With thoughts of sunlight and regret,

That winter gnaws the bones and strips them bare,

We start the day—this fog that clings so wet

Coats phantom trees in grey of mud made air.