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"Haphazard by Starlight" - Day 22

Ode to Winter

By Gillian Clarke


We hoard light, hunkered in holt and burrow,

In cave, cwtsh, den, earth, hut, lair.

Sun blinks.  Trees take down their hair.

Dusk wipes horizons, seeps into the room,

The last flame of geranium in the gloom.


In the shortening day, bring in late flowers

To crisp in a vase, beech to break into leaf,

A branch of larch.  Take winter by the throat.

Feed the common birds, tits and finches,

The spotted woodpecker in his opera coat.


Let's learn to love the icy winter moon,

Or moonless dark and winter constellations,

Jupiter's glow, a slow, incoming plane,

Neighbourly windows, someone's flickering screen,

A lamp-lit page, drawn curtains.


Let us praise intimacy, talk and books,

Music and silence, wind and rain,

The beautiful bones of trees, taste of cold air,

Darkening fields, the glittering city,

That winter longing, hiraeth, something like prayer.


Under the stilled heartbeat of trees,

Wind-snapped branches, mulch and root,

A million bluebell bulbs lie low

Ready to flare in lengthening light,

After the dark, frozen earth, the snow.


Out there, fox and buzzard, kite and crow

Are clearing the ground for the myth.

On the darkest day bring to the tree,

Cool and pungent as forest.  Turn up the music.

Pour us a glass. Dress the house in pagan finery.

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