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.
A wayra sequence from the Oracle has nothing but hope this morning.
Mother mist rises
Mother mist rises,
enfolds in her gentle arms
purple night shadows, brushing
with changing light, sun hues
and the golden taste of morning.
Cold death slinks away,
drawn by the sunken moon,
lured by music, siren-sung,
beyond the horizon,
sparkling now with molten frost drops.
Roses rimed in frost,
their honey drips slow and sweet,
melting like the damp darkness
beneath tree shade, dark-boughed,
and I recall their summer scent.
The day started in freezing fog and changed its mind.
Morning in winter,
when silence is fog-thick, tiles
cold beneath the feet, breath clouds,
and between its walls, house
hunches, waits for the sun, bird-wreathed.
Birds bloom in the sun
where the cold was, the frost-fur,
golden where silver spun sharp
grass blades, keen as north winds,
fluttering façade, the house sighs,
and in the cold fields,
the same magic pours, green-gold,
coaxing shoots through orange sods,
though winter’s arm is long,
still poised among the clear night stars.
Bright morning, winter
Sun soaks the watery willows
feet in ditch-water
speckled with bird-flutter and swoop
the singing oak leaves never falter
though gales have blown have blown
their voices mingle with the thrush
high in the swaying tree-hair
where only twigs find a perch
and the slender bones of a bird.
What the birds know
Darkfall, moonrise, sunset,
all happen off-stage behind the cloud curtain
and the wind machine
with its tree-bending effects.
Here, in the shelter of stone walls
flowers unfurl in the mild air,
opening in orange and pink beneath a pall of grey
where thickset, hatchet-etched tree bark
is dark with damp, and the wind mutters
in ancient anger for ancient wrongs
and unknown regrets.
I hang onto the bright wings,
the dark beads of watchful eyes,
the incessant movement and calling,
that defy the wind’s winter voice,
the rain-lash and the flexing fingers of the cold.
This small world circles, such a petty pace,
but follow the wings,
they will find the light.
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.
Day rises out of night-chill
and white frost
bathed in frozen fog.
Pearled sky blues, touch by touch,
beaten by kestrel wings
searing the trailing mist
until on a sudden,
in a wing-flash, white as egrets,
there is only light,
and between, the kestrel god
hangs in splendour.
Did you see the morning rise
from the scratched stalks of pale green
and damp-blackened leaves of the fig tree?
I saw the silence
and heard the cold seep—
there is no snow, only egrets.
An Imbolc poem for earthweal.
Days of water
nights of rushing wind
and only thoughts of fire.
Winter runs in these cold streams,
dull browns and mud-grey,
sodden with cloud-spill.
No light, bright and sharp
as whetted steel,
no gold glints among the weeds
or the mud-stirred ditches;
winter runs still
in these cold veins,
only the birds,
colour of sunglitter and holly berries,
dance to the music of Brigid’s footsteps,
settle on the budding twig-snap
of her fiery fingers.