Tag Archives: winter

Snowmen I have known

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How much light in a winter sky

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How much light in a winter sky!
the subtlety of mauve and rust and slate

heavy-bellied clouds floating
like seasoned bathers in a cold sea

each dwindling moment of olive oil light
caught in the wick of a seed of grass

chest-breaching call of the gulls
the lake surface a battered pewter plate

bouncing back the cupped light
medieval in its splendor
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DISPOSSESSED

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It is death defying
To stand on the lawn at dusk,
Metal pail swinging
From my gloved hand.
The air so cold
It feels as though
The inhospitable earth
Is trying to dispossess me.

I stamp my boot,
Toes already frozen:
Tell me I don’t belong—
I dare you!

Whiskers of snow brush
My numb cheeks,
Whisper, Pathetic
Warm blooded human.
With neither hide nor hair
To keep frost crystals
From trammeling up
Your soupy blood,
You don’t stand a chance.
Cocooned creature,
Strip you bare and you
Become
confused,
lumbering,
inarticulate.
You don’t possess
The survival skills of a squirrel.

I shrug ice feathers
Off my shoulders,
Blowing hot breath into
Wool paws.
Earth, you’ve got
Nothing to prove,
No judgments to pass.
Now leave me alone
To stomp my way
To the compost heap.

EVERGREEN

DSCF0423When russet beech leaves coat the ground
And bark is bare in field and wood
An evergreen to tease the eye
As winter’s symbol should.

Sprig of holly at the door
To ward off lightning, poison, war
Druid staff, Witch’s brew
Sword forger’s friend
Dreamcatcher, too—
nine sharp leaves bound in cloth
with nine tight knots
will conjure truth,
according to the old belief.

Holly King rules his natural realm
And never far from his side
From summer’s height to winter’s chill
Fidelity, his ivy bride.

Sprig of ivy up the wall
Keeps home safe from beast and squall
Lover’s bind, Good luck plea
A poet’s crown
Fertility—
bridal wreath intertwined
carried by a blushing maid
will ensure a fruitful match,
according to the old belief.

Pagan totem, Christian sign
No matter what it cares to mean
The holly and the ivy’s gift—
The ever present, Evergreen.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, may you find moments of peace and joy.
Best wishes, Melissa
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IRELAND AT THE OPENING AND CLOSING OF DAY

DSCF9888At this time of year in Ireland there’s a scant eight hours of daylight. The sun rolls lazily over the horizon at 8.30 am, and is already slipping away by 4.30 pm, leaving sixteen hours of darkness.

DSCF9917Of course the reverse is true in the summer with close to seventeen hours of daylight. On Midsummer’s night on June 21st, you can still be leaping the St. John’s Day bonfire in twilight at 11pm. But you’ll need to be up by 4am to milk the cows at dawn.

DSCF9900This is not surprising, given it’s latitude, (roughly 53˚North) which it shares with southern Alaska, Canada’s Hudson bay, and Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The Gulf Stream’s North Atlantic Drift, however, sweeps warm water up from the Gulf of Mexico, giving Ireland a much more temperate climate, thankfully.DSCF9881

No matter how grey and wet the day, at dusk, a little magic happens.DSCF9688

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