Layers of a night

The blue-white moon shines over the city
shimmering the snow,
frozen now for days where once it cascaded,
drifting across streets and yards and roofs,
now monuments and mountains tower, stoic.

Silver stars twinkle piecemeal in the lit-up sky
(only the brightest ones)
below, yellow lights flicker across the faces
of apartment buildings and office towers;
the stars and lights dance, rhythmless,
while steam rises then hangs limply in the frozen air –
frozen spectres.

Reeling from the cold, we recede indoors
sliced by moonlight, the room of this old house glows
swaying in candlelight soft and gold
wrapped in exotic scents – spices and dried fruit –
that taste of deserts and sun and frankincense;
swallowing thoughts,
they turn palate to substance.

Beyond the immediacy of taste and smell,
the people, all darkened eyes and sparkling shawls,
beguile, languid in their gestures.
We are all somewhere else,
someone else,
together but apart,
apart from the winter seeping though the windows and cracks,
apart from ourselves.

What is it that winter does
to alienate, even as we come together?
We turn inside ourselves
sink deeper, further than this moment
seeking a warmth
hidden inside.

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Toronto, by air

A city afloat –

grey blocks, stacked and still,

reach to where the land ends

to where lake and sky meet;

soft pink streaks through the whites of fog and cloud.

My window onto desertion:

the only stirring in the early morning chill

is the silent breath-billowing of steam, exhaust,

lives suspended.

Everything

You may recall

in years to come

this feeling, this place –

home, yes,

(we all think of home)

but I mean home right now,

today;

at some vague, future time

something like these sweet smells,

brandy-soaked fruit (Christmas cakes)

and the lingering memory of breakfast’s bacon,

might bring you back to now,

you might hear the comforting melancholy

of winter jazz playing quietly on a radio,

and recall the way the winter sun infused everything

as it slanted through a filter of snow-clouds and bare branches,

you might feel the deep warmth of home,

of us, here, together.

*

Oh, right now

I know it’s just another day

a regular, lazy Sunday

a day of idle movies

of someone somewhere cooking –

peripheral,

hardly worth noting.

*

But if ever you ask me then

whether I remember now,

I will smile slightly and say

I remember, and

it was everything.

Flower Power

just one leaf
one petal
in this whitewashed snow-world
just one sign of life
to break the monotone;

head to the earth
I feel no force
hear no beat
but I whisper anyway,
willing the first shoots to unfurl
the smallest buds to pop
to turn their rainbow faces skyward
and begin recolouring this cold world

NaPoWriMo day 8 is flower day.

The bleakest months

In winter’s bleakest dark-day months
when winds whip in from churning briny sea
and wraith-clouds storm and race each other –
grey shades scudding o’er ragged countryside –
ravens soar and call for war into the solitary void;

when only rocks will shelter sheep from rain,
tumbled down through browning gorse and broom,
still stonefenced pastures hold their brilliant green
from white-dressed hills down to steely waves,
and fog-kissed leaves sparkle in the gloam;

Those cruel months would call me out to stand,
hands skyward,
to watch and feel and breathe the power of the land.

 

 

The cruelest months, I find, are the most beautiful. NaPoWriMo day 4.