Poem: The Pain of Winter

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The Pain of Winter

Seven degrees and the quarry lake is frozen.
The snow has become hard
and there are no tracks from the animals of the night.

The few remaining plants are mere stalks, dry and brittle,
dark counterpoints to the snow.

Behind you, down below, is warmth.
the woman you love is there, nestled
in the house you share.

You will go back soon enough,
but for now you need to be here,
where the cold seeps into your skin.

You need to feel the bitter wind,
the hurt of it. You need
the reminder

of life without place or love.  You vow
to never forget the pain of those years,
for in remembering your appreciation is that much greater.

Far up the quarry, you hear a lone coyote.
Its yips echo off the stone walls.
He will not be alone, you think;

neither of us was made for aloneness.
Not for long.  Even an introvert like you,
a man comfortable in empty spaces,

needs.

You stand for a time. You can feel the temperature fall.
You turn and walk down the icy path, back home,
back to her,

the pain of winter raw in your bones,
rejoicing that it is a temporary thing, and below,
spring awaits.

About this poem

I am the introvert’s introvert, comfortable in silence and empty spaces. But even I know I am better with someone. And best with the right someone.

This is a love poem to that right someone, the woman I love and who loves me.

Tom

Poem: One Day Closer

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One Day Closer

It is the third day of a rare February melt
and still, the snow remains, grey in the morning,
the colors of old grass and wheat still buried,
just out of sight.

The creeks are high. Blocks of ice catch on fallen trees.
The water is angry, awakened from its winter sleep.

Today will tell the tale.
Another day of melt and the colors will return.
The landscape will burst with the browns and yellows,
almost dead things will become bright in comparison
to the smothering white snow.

You stand and look across the lake.
You feel the breeze for a hint of warmth
and find none. It is winter still
and you tighten your scarf around your neck.
The day will be a long one, cold and hard, but
one day closer to spring.

About this poem

About Winter. About life.

Tom

Poem: Uncertain Season

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Uncertain Season

The bones of the old house moan in the wind.
The barn begins to flood.
The mere act of walking becomes a task,
the slogging through mud, long frozen.

This is the way of winter
This is the way of spring.
The thaw is never easy
and for a brief time, you are unsure

which season
to yearn for.

About this poem

Driving home from Massachusetts today, the temperature hit 32 degrees. It has been so cold here – several days hovering around -20, that the snow and ice must have been eager to thaw. As I passed fields and farms, I saw half-melted ice, the dark melting water below, the last of the frozen snow skimming the surface.

It won’t last. Winter came early and hard here in Vermont, and we have a few months of it yet, but the mess reminded me of what we call flood season up here and the uncertainty of weather, and beyond weather.

And it made me think of not just weather, but change. That wonderful, scary thing.

Smiling at the thought,

Tom