Sunday 29 January 2012

Three Horses in the Cold by Lori Lipsky

There stood three geldings strong
Side by side
Near the fence—
We paused our hike
In admiration
And they returned our gaze

From the horizontal bars
Of metal pipe fence
Hung neat rows of
Miniature icicles—
A delicate
Crystal valance

Lori Lipsky, Wisconsin, USA

Sunday 22 January 2012

Sparrows in Winter by Gershon Ben-Avraham

I wonder where sparrows go in winter,
When weather turns, and seeds
Sleep silently beneath the frozen fields.

Sitting here beside my fire, I remember how in
Spring they built their home, in a corner of our own,
Beneath the eaves above our bedroom window.

On quiet summer nights I would lie awake
And strain to hear, through the open window,
Sounds of their lives together.

I asked my neighbor if he knew.
Smiling, he said he had never thought on it,
But told me I should remove their nest.

Climbing the ladder propped against the wall, and seeing
Close their work of sticks, and twigs, and string, with their own
Light grey and white feathers woven in, untouched, I left it.

I imagined them somewhere south, sitting in trees Gulf-side,
With a warm Gulf breeze brushing against their breasts,
Their children singing in the branches near them.

And they, their parents, remembering their
Summer home, hoping to return to the one
Sitting still in the eaves above our bedroom window.

I wonder where sparrows go in winter,
When weather turns, and seeds
Sleep silently beneath the frozen fields.

Gershon Ben-Avraham, PA, USA

Friday 13 January 2012

Snow Pilgrim by Arthur Durkee

Snow drives in around the porch edges. Puffs of whitegrained breath, fallen on uninsulated floors, to drift. The local definition of a blizzard asks how horizontal the snow falls. Green and white the red cardinal's shelter. Gray squirrel, puff-cheeked, clutches the topmost spruce bough, bouncing in the wind, to reach the tree's last cones. Rabbit tracks dash lines between trees.

a quiet rest
in between mountain hikes,
the trailman's lodge

Seeking a festival more quiet, more contemplative, the old poet ties up his knapsack, goes out into the snow, boots laced high over wool, hat and mittens braced upwind. Any direction as good, in this whiteout. Where the road shelfs over the cutbank of river's loop, he stops to watch heavy flakes streak through whipping blackoak branches across the oxbow slope. Memorizing calligraphy of lines of trees clouded behind snow, because too cold for inkstone and brush. Flakes tick on already frozen drifts, winds hiss the boughs, somewhere off upstream a bluejay shrieks. All other silences converge. Walking stick and knapsack, uproad, vanishing. Fade to white.

line of footfalls lost
under fresh fallen snow,
no one left to see

Arthur Durkee, USA

Sunday 8 January 2012

Snowblink by Chris Crittenden

it puts the lie
to the white of the people
who came over
in their big bellied boats.
noon hits the field
and shatters, a bloodblaze
of angels. no puritan robe
this huge or capable
of inciting the sun.

we'd have to strip down
to bone, wash the crimson
off our sternums. our nerve endings
would have to be spliced, frozen,
and bundled with the paucity
of january alders.

if a just god held court,
it would be here, where boots
blemish pale satin, and ravens
seem pangs of the dead.
a place where ghosts can be molded
and presented as blunt-featured

shorn logic waits nude,
sheathed in clear steel and unafraid--
as if we could learn
if we stood mute and calm,
tilting prayers to icicles,
swallowed by their truth.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA