The Yuletide lights are packed away,
Grey leaves creep down the street.
The trees at dusk are shades of grey,
Grey sky makes grey complete.
The old man mutters as he scrapes
His trash can to the curb.
The trees complain and sway their shapes
As gusts their peace disturb.
Thin clouds scud past the frozen moon,
The distant highway drones,
Debris from windy storms lies strewn,
The path gives way to stones.
A solitary sparrow picks
A solitary seed
Out from the desiccated sticks
To slake its piercing need.
We’ve reached the nadir of the year,
The time when flowers sleep.
No wish can make them reappear
From their repose so deep.
NOTES: Winter can be dreary in the Northwest. The days are as short as they are long in summer. It rains incessantly. Storms roll in from the Pacific and wreak havoc with trees and electrical power grids.
I know. I know. This may sound wimpy when my friends back in Minnesota are staring at temperatures in the 20s below zero Fahrenheit this week. It’s true that we enjoy a Marine climate here on the Puget Sound. It doesn’t get that cold, and I’ve shoveled snow exactly one time since I moved here 25 years ago.
But winter is long, and I’m eager for the page to turn and the return of the crocus and the robins.
I’ve noticed that walking without earphones or music stimulates the poetry center of the brain. I think it’s because I hear what’s going on around me. As I walked this past week on a windy evening, I noticed the tall evergreens making a perceptible swishing sound, back and forth, back and forth.
Read the second stanza aloud and see if you can hear it, too.