Winter tree

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In the dark December tree,

Black branches bare against the sky,

Cold mist clings and drips

And the last leaves flap

The heavy, brown flags

Of summer’s surrender.

In the dark tree,

Among the dead leaves,

Robin pours his winter song,

Red throat a winter bloom,

Ember of summer fire.

The leafless tree,

Claimed by the freezing mist

And bleak hand of the north,

Fills with music.

I close my eyes

And the bite of the cold

For the space of a song

Is a little less deep.

The frozen song

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The sea that summer hissed

Through the poplars’ rippling green

Has ebbed now.

Leaves cold-crisped

Crick crack

Like the bleached bones of last spring’s blackbird.

His rich golden song

Still as ice,

The notes frosty pearls

Rocked in the black depths of the winter sea

By the unvanquished robins’ lullaby.