A monthly column in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Words for Winter

Words for Winter
A Few Poems about the Season of Snow

Whether you love it or hate it, winter is a time that evokes strong emotions.
Those first few snowfalls remind us of childhood days, playing in the snow, precious days off from school and the smell of hot chocolate awaiting us.
By the end, we’ve pretty much had it. We forgo the shoveling. Why bother? It’ll melt soon, anyway, right?
Since winter tends to touch our nerves, I asked a few poetically minded friends to offer a few words on the topic.
  • Susie Spikol Faber is a gifted writer from Hancock and teacher/naturalist extraordinaire for the Harris Center for Conservation Education.
  • Swift Corwin is a consulting forester from Peterborough who navigates his words as well as he roams the woods.
  • “Anonymous” from Rindge is talented in many ways, but is simply too humble about his wonderful poetry.
  • Emily Hague from Keene captures the essence of the Monadnock Region in pictures, music, words and through her work with the Monadnock Conservancy. 

By Susie Spikol Faber

On the hillside behind my home
I find fresh fisher tracks
Five toes curved into clawed rays.
The print, a sunburst, radiates predator.
Touching each claw,
My winter cold fingers
Lick the track
Hungry to touch your vivid wildness.

Bounding across the winter
Blue jay better fly
And mouse dive,
Deep below rodent scented snow.
Outlawed fisher, thief of house cats, chicken killer
Tree climbing ransacker
Pole cat, fishercat, black cat, none
No cat dare claim you kin.

A dusky musk hangs in the air,
Drinking it up, I breathe in hard
Sucking in each scent
The lingering odor of your essence.

Slinking along stonewalls in this beech gray forest
I'd follow you to Skyland
Jumping through the hole you gashed.
I'd be the black night sky,
For you to bound across
Dark accomplice to your everyday crimes.

It Won’t Be Tomorrow
By Swift Corwin

Snow lays  each morning differently – visiting
white bolts of thousand thread count cotton sheets
drifts of sand
plastic chunks
cotton candy
powdered sugar
Snow is ever different

Who knows waking up which it will be? just wait...
To touch, feel, and hear it

Paws might tell the tale:
dogs shins may bleed on an unforgiving crust
while the cat will scamper with the shallowest marks on
powdery snowdust.

Or so too might sounds:
the crunching of the neighbors shovel
a car slushing through gobs of goo
The screeching of super cold snow under boots
The snowplow's muted rumbling whoosh

What ever it is today, it won't be tomorrow...
eventually the sun will shine and grass will return to join the party

Of March
By Susie Spikol Faber

After this winter of ice and hardness
Of cold and frozen ground,
Of darkness,
I am brought to my knees
By the flash of brown earth.
I can barely stand
The earthen musky leaves
After the white skin of winter
Pulls back.
It sends me breathless,
Into a field of long fallen snow and ice
Where I first see soft soil
I crawl out to it
And lay down in it
Like a beast
Rubbing my back on it
And rolling
Licking up
The warming earth's scent
I lie in this patch
Sunlit warm brown ground
Of March.
The warming earth’s scent
I lie in this patch of
Sunlit warm brown soft ground
Of March.

Open Snow
By anonymous

I leave the streets for wide open snow
Filling lungs, stepping high and sinking low
My tracks lead to the day's last gentle light,
And dip and weave in, out, and behind my sight.
In my step there's a sober expectation:
Waking of a hibernating narration.
Snow burdened trees mope around my head.
Flashes, shadows, wind, faces, and things once said.
A few steps can take you so very far;
Past the dark hollows and the town and the chimney stacks
To any season full of bounty or one that lacks.
I leave the streets for wide open snow
Never knowing where I might go.

Cobalt Roads
By Emily Hague

cobalt roads
steel grey sky
everything in high contrast.
night: day, white: grey
ice and steam
we curse and shovel
fuel the fire
dreaming, ever, of summer
but enjoying the crunch
beneath our feet

morose thoughts are interrupted
by the jovial call
of the cardinal
and the neighbor's pleasantries
same words, but with more meaning
we catch ourselves relishing
the sweat and cold
everything in high contrast