Only the drippy grey, slow-melting days

Only the drippy grey, slow-melting days

give licence to stay inside.

Close the door, light the fire

and come, curl in under woollen blanket,

turn from windowpanes

open onto bleak snowscapes,

shutter the world away and escape

its bone-chilling dampness,

its tales of war and woe will wait;

settle fireside and drift, lazy,

on waves of mulling spices and storybooks.

Tonight’s sky streaked with sun’s fire,

and all the bright tomorrows,

will lay claim to you soon enough.



With thanks to Jennifer Knoblock for the possibly unintentional but very helpful prompt and opening line. You see, even those days can inspire!


The Waiting World

Lawren Harris, Houses on Gerrard Street

Here it is again;
Winter’s once-white world returned,
descending on the cold, grey wings
of last season’s lingering birds,
blotting out the last vestiges
of golden Autumn with blinding-bright light.
Crystals powder winter-red berries,
dusting peaks, trees, streets,
layering the city in artful timelessness.

Steeling myself against frost’s gilded air
I step out into a fairytale
strung with coloured lights,
adorned with pale moon,
a realm that seems to have been
here all this time
waiting to re-emerge.



Partie de l’Amerique Septentrionale, 1783

Copyright Silverleaf 2015

Past Terre Neuve, around Les Milles Isles,
up into Isle Bonne Fortune,
north into the white, cold snows,
into a world of frozen oceans and rivers,
past Groenland and on
and on, into the Artique
until my hands freeze to quill,
until ink, thick, freezes in glass.

Still we press on.

Some days I wonder
how to map and chart a white land
on white sea
against white sky.
Often I dream of home,
of my office in Bordeaux,
of land and colour, hue, warmth.

And I wonder if I’m too old
to live this dream
I’m living,
if I’m too old
to traipse through this cold nightmare.

.                                           (Mr. Bonne)

Inspired by the names, both place names and the name of the cartographer, on an old map of the north that my husband recently found and had framed.

Winter Riches

I wrote this last week during a brief respite from the sub-Artic temperatures, on a day that it was actually warm enough to snow. I miss those balmy temperatures…
What is it about the neverending snow
that beguiles
draws me to the window
out the door
draws me
into its fold?
I can feel myself
breathing it in
it is my water
and I
its mermaid.
In the half light
its riches sparkle
a bed of diamonds
stretching across everything
and my hungry eyes gather up
every last one of them
holding them close
for that moment that I will need to cash in my happiness at the bank.

Thoughts on an Early Winter Morning

It is 7 am
and I am alone in the car
rolling down quiet city streets
through tunnels the snowplows have left,
white-gilded trees closing me in.
Ice and snow crunch under my tires
while thick, white flakes float sparsely on the air,
dusting still-abandoned sidewalks.
The smells of breakfast
– eggs, bacon and coffee –
fill the car, drowning my senses.
I notice Christmas lights
still up here and there around the neighbourhood
and wonder if maybe Christmas lights
are really just winter lights.
Maybe they never were anything else.
Two skaters glide down the canal,
silenced by the snow and the windows and the hum of the car;
I think about the scratching sound of blades on ice
and then I think of little else.

All the promise of an unmarked day stretches before me
and I am happy.