WHOSE WOODS?

WHOSE WOODS?

after R. F.

He doesn’t tell if it was a newcomer

who didn’t understand about hunting,

or a local curmudgeon with a grudge

who posted the woods along the road.

But he made a promise to himself,

and one dark and snowy night

near the end of deer season,

he drank a few cups of tea,

saddled his horse,

and set out to make things right.

When he got to that lonely place,

he slid off the horse, and in the most

basic way he knew, he made 

the lovely woods his own again.

 

 

I know I’m not the first person to have this thought.

CANDLEMAS, VERMONT

CANDLEMAS, VERMONT

Clear out the Christmas clutter

so no one will die this year.

Count the candles and say a prayer.

We don’t bless the herds

or let lambs out in the cold.

It is not spring here.

Half the woodpile should remain;

half the potatoes, half the grain.

Your breath-cloud echoes

a shadow of smoke crossing

and recrossing the snow.

WHY OUR GODS

 

WHY OUR GODS

I think it’s the weather: the snow, the wind,

the cold. To be small targets, all winter

we wear our shoulders under our ears. Plans

made on sunny days come to naught when snow

fills the roads and paths and knocks out power

lines and we must stay and shovel and feed

the stoves. Our houses get smaller. Husbands

and cats take up more spaces. Complaining

dogs follow us from room to room. This is

why our gods are relentless, slow to forgive,

determining, unpredictable, hard.

Their will is as slippery as the ice.

They don’t approve when we, in our clumsy

boots and heavy jackets, try to dance.

COMING TOWARD HOME

COMING TOWARD HOME

 

I want to love things all by myself,

not looking sidelong to see

if others are loving them, too:

the sky like old blue glass held in by a tracery of trees,

the great horned owl’s cynical question–

Who’s awake?

the falling cold stars of snow.

 

One night I snowshoed in the woods alone,

the full moon lamplight gleaming

through the lace of soft snow clouds.

Coming toward home I saw in the frame of an uncurtained window

the painting of a summer orchard

above my piano against the green wall,

my husband moving across the kitchen with his teacup.

I thought I would break for joy.

 

This is an old one. It was published in Calyx, in September, 2000

Winter Prompt #11: Spells

SPELLS

Winter Prompt #11

1.

Great spider, untangle

the threads you’ve spun.

Turn to dust the husks of bees

and flies sucked dry.

Bits of leaf and fur let fall

and in the dark a new web weave

so in the dawn’s light

we may see the shining shape

of all set free.

2.

Audmula lick us from the ice,

Skadi, hunt up the sun,

free us from this Niflheim.

Bragi, loosen my tongue.

OLD MAN WINTER

Old man Winter, that Old Man Winter,
He don’t need nothing; he must want something.
He just keeps blowing, he keeps on snowing along.

He don’t wear sweaters, he don’t wear longjohns,
And them what wears them will soon be bygones,
He just keeps blowing, he keeps on snowing along.

You and me, we shovel and strain,
Backs all aching and wracked with pain:
Clear that walk!  Chop that ice!
Vermont Life makes the winter look nice.

I get weary, and sick of freezing,
I’m tired of sniffling, and tired of sneezing,
But Old Man Winter, he just keeps blowing along.