Friday, December 23, 2011

Poems for winter

Two days ago on the Solstice we received an email from a long-time MT reader, who lives in Minnesota.  He wrote that there was no snow on the Solstice there for the first time in five years, and that the colors are muted, and will be for the duration.  Though, as he said, some birds, the chickadees and juncos "appear to dress for dining."  His message was lovely, a bow to the day, and a welcome reminder that we aren't just talking to ourselves.  He included two poems, sent to him in turn by a friend to mark the day.  The Solstice is past, but here in the northern hemisphere we won't notice the lengthening of the days for some weeks to come, and these poems aren't specifically dedicated to the shortest day of the year so we thought we'd share them with you.

....And if you have some timely or thoughtful verse to add in Comments or to send to us, we'd like that.

Black Rook in Rainy Weather

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then --
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent. 
              --by Sylvia Plath


I have news for you:
The stag bells, winter snows,
Summer has gone
Wind high and cold,
The sun low, short its course
The sea running high.
Deep red the bracken;
Its shape is lost;
The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,
Cold has seized the birds' wings;
Season of ice, this is my news
            --9th C. Irish

No comments: