An ending of a story as winter

folds frosted wings and flies;

a story ended another one begun

is what we hope, clutching for

that narrow slender bridge and

the start-again as vital as before,

not running down, an old clock

with failing mechanism.

Final dot, the page runs white

frost cake-icing the first delight

in snow. No looking back, cross

the bridge and scatter birdsfeet

prints of black and tell another

story as spring unfolds feathered

noisy water wings and runs.

Winter winding


winter winds in shiny worms of water

lapping root and bare black branches

whines in windy window cracks

splits clay pots

seeds and dry leaves scattering

birds still wing

though singing is for spring

sun warming stone and shoots

lizards loiter bees bumble in stray rays

but night falls and fog crawls

draw down the blinds

hope seeps back into black water

on cold earth

struggling to blossom

Blue as frost

A collaborative poem with the Oracle. Perseverance through to the last page of words often brings a hopeful ending.




dogs my steps


light shivers

a dance

of broken glass


beneath this sky

that none can warm

no breath melt the ice


only fools

find joy

in wild mornings


broken things die

enfolded by clouds

and the night


yet they wake

blue as angels

in the soft vastness of home

Almost an ending


It feels like an ending

though the sun shines sharp-bright

and the birds sing.

Do they know this is only the start,

that the cold will deepen and ice crisp water tight

and nights will be longer than a lifetime?

I know, and I sorrow for soft, feathered things.

Death will stalk the shadows where they nod

somnolent in the numbing cold,


~when stars look the other way~


and at the deepest point,

when the dark can get no darker,

and the clouds swirl like ink in a stormy glass,

the sun rises, sailing slow

out of the quagmire below the horizon,

rises stately as a full moon,

cutting short the night, drawing light

from every river, ocean, wave, every glassy lake,

and winter is already vanquished.

Moon light

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

Haibun for a coming

For Frank Tassone’s haikai challenge.


The year begins in darkness, deepening relentlessly, rising like a black tide higher with every turn of the earth, until the solstice, and the tide is halted, ebbs, time hangs in suspense on the horizon’s rim and the sun that rises is the triumph of day over night, Sol Invictus.

winter cold bites

gnaws bitter bones

beneath the snow

shoots roots uncurl­—


Winter moonlight

Marianne von Werefkin’s work is a joy.  This painting is entitled Moonlit.

An ekphrastic poem in the spirit of the dverse prompt, if not following it to the letter.


In the winter there is nowhere to hide,

the cold strips and splits, and ice cracks on the river.

In the moonlight the shadows are black,

and even old monks with backs bent

by the weight of other people’s sins

have spindly alter egos that trot lightly across the snow.

In the dark by the light of a cold moon,

there is a stillness

that not even the promise of a blazing hearth can stir.

In the moonlit winter cold the world is starved thin

and black as sin.