Winter again

Winter nibbles away
at the days
until they’re pared down
slivers of light
between great slabs of dark.
Winter gnaws at leaves, at flesh,
bites down to the bone.
Winter swallows
warmth, sucks the heat
from under skin,
grinds life down
to shivering dust.

A quadrille for Mish at dVerse – 44 words, including the key word “nibble”. Come and quadrille with us.

Snowdrops

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The first snowdrops are here. They cling to the edges of the field, the way snow clings to a window frame. Like snow, they linger in the shade. They are the whitest thing I know – whiter than frost, whiter than the moon, whiter than snow itself. They are winter, and the end of winter; cold, and the promise of spring.

heads hanging
whispering secrets
shivering

A haibun for Frank at dVerse.

Day 16: a double act

Two poems today, one from the lovely Kim Russell, and the other from the equally lovely Mary Earnshaw. They’re both quite short, and I think they work together well – both poems of winter weather.

Kim first:

Gentle Winter Reminder

Snow has been falling for half an hour
and already the garden is covered.
Slumped by the log store,
only the tip of an old sack is visible
as I approach, feet firmly in my wellies,
one sock creeping down to my toes.

The logs are frozen to the touch,
landing in the basket with a thud.
I’m so intent on piling logs for the stove,
I almost miss him: a cock robin hops
along the log-store roof and stops,
head cocked, eye shining, breast aflame,

reminding me of my duty to fill
the bird feeders with the sweetest trill.

and then Mary:

A wet coming they’d have of it

Beyond rain-bleared windows
draggled branches drip beneath
a night loured by cloud.

In the East no stars shine to
lead wise men, or fools, carrying
myrrh, gold and frankincense.

At last the rain stops. We conjure
up the silence of a deep snow quilt,
imagine reindeer really can fly.                

Kim M. Russell started writing when she was a schoolgirl and, since she retired from teaching in 2014, she has become a morning writer of at least a poem a day. She posts mainly poetry on her WordPress blog, writinginnorthnofolk.com. Her poems have been published on-line on Visual Verse, Spillwords, The Ekphrastic Review, Pure Haiku and the Poetry Pea Podcast, as well as in the following printed anthologies: Poetry Rivals and Love’s Labyrinth (Forward Press), Afflatus Magazine, River Writes (Bure Navigation Conservation Trust), Anthology of Aunts and Second Place Rosette (The Emma Press), Peeking Cat Anthologies 2017 and 2018, Fieldwork (New Nature Writing from East Anglia) and the Poetry Pea Journals, as well as a piece of flash fiction in Flash, I love you!, published by Paper Swans Press. Kim has self-published Between Heartbeats, an anthology of short stories and flash fiction, and a novel for children, Joe and Nelly. She lives in Norfolk with her husband and two cats.

Mary Earnshaw is a northerner with mixed loyalties, born Lancastrian but raised from the age of seven in Yorkshire. She is co-author, with Alan Parry, David Walshe and Paul Robert Mullen, of a chapbook of poems published by Dreich about Southport, under the title Belisama, Ptolemy’s name for that area south of the River Ribble, between sea and moss, where Mary lives. Her poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction have been published in various anthologies and journals and in 2021 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and the Julian Lennon Poetry Prize.

In 2012 Mary published a crime fiction novel (A Wake of Vultures) set in Zambia where, since 1993, she has spent much time with her husband, Larry Barham, Professor of African Archaeology at the University of Liverpool, whom she met (far too long ago to admit) on a dig in Swaziland (now Eswatini). As a result, her non-verbal skills include cooking concoctions in witchy iron cauldrons, in the dark, over an open fire, for groups of dirty, hungry people.

Day 7: Winter Bites

This poem is by Jane Dougherty, who blogs at https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/. Jane was a massive inspiration and support to me when I started blogging my poems, and is still one of my favourite poets. She has written a number of young adult fantasy books, and her poetry collection – Thicker than Water is available here:LINK CO.UKHTTPS://TINYURL.COM/Y2ET7DCR
LINK .COM HTTPS://TINYURL.COM/Y5UELDRQ
LINK AUSTRALIA HTTPS://TINYURL.COM/YYKLA7NM 
LINK CANADA HTTPS://TINYURL.COM/YXU5AZLK 
LINK INDIA HTTPS://TINYURL.COM/YY6QVLE5

Winter night

Light’s spilling from the window,
warm as gingerbread,
sticky as love.
Light’s spilling from the window
and I pause here for a moment,
between the dark blue night and
the light spilling from the window,
warm as gingerbread.

In December, we triolet. Another triolet, unrhymed, unrhythmed, stretched and bent, but still recognisable.

Day 9: winter woodland

now is the time to explore you
in misty light so low
you become one inky shadow

birch, ash, beech and oak let go
of leafy glamour long ago
abandoning piles of copper and gold

now your copses are barefaced and bold
your glimmering gnarly branches hold
mulchy aromas of moss and fungus

I long to see you bathing languorous
in myrrhy moon and silver scent of stars

come and explore me
in this misty light so low
be embraced by my inky shadow

my trees have all let go
their leafy glamour long ago
abandoned it in piles of copper and gold

my copses are barefaced and bold
my glimmering gnarly branches hold
clouds of moss and fungus

come, see me bathe languorous
in myrrh of moon and silver-scented stars



A little wintry magic from Kim Russell. Kim M. Russell has been writing poetry and short stories since she was a schoolgirl but only began submitting to competitions and anthologies when she retired from teaching in 2014. Her poems have been published on-line by Visual Verse and The Ekphrastic Review, among others, and in print by: Afflatus Magazine, River Writes (Bure Navigation Conservation Trust), Anthology of Aunts and Second Place Rosette (Emma Press), Chiaroscuro – Darkness and Light (dVerse Anthology 2017), Peeking Cat Anthologies 2017 and 2018, and Field Work (UEA Publishing Project with Kunsthalle Cromer). She lives in the UK, in East Anglia between the North Sea coast and the Norfolk Broads, with her husband and two cats.

Kim has written two books, a flash fiction collection: Between Heartbeats and a children’s book: Joe and Nelly. They’d both make ideal stocking fillers…

Winter – poem for dVerse

From leaf-shed
to new growth –

we are seeing out
the winter.

Sun-starved, we hanker
after light,

hoarding up pale moments
of beauty –

the scratch of twigs against
the sky,

the bleached petals of
the sunset,

the red haze growth of
witch hazel

and we yearn.

Oh, we yearn.

Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight, asking us to shed our inhibitions, and our coats, and settle down to some writing. We are riffing on the word “shed”. Join us.

Winter afternoon – a poem for dVerse

The sky is a piece of paper,
crumpled and smoothed out
by grubby hands, smeared
with grey, mottled by time

all meaning rubbed away

the gull is a blade,
slicing through the air,
each feather sharpened
by the wind, each turn
drawing blood

the sky is a dirty
sheet of paper.

the gull is a
feathered blade.

sky
paper
gull
blade

Bjorn is behind the bar at dVerse tonight. It’s a Meet the Bar night, and he’s asked us to think about metaphors. 

I actually think it would be harder for me to write a poem without metaphors, and for it still to be a poem. 

The green chapel

Winter sleeps in a cave in the mountains, on a bed of ice. She creeps in there as the snow melts, and takes her long rest, lulled by birdsong and the scent of green, growing things. She wakes as the leaves fall in showers of gold and red, and emerges, scattering frost around her. She walks under winter skies pierced full of stars, and dances in wild December storms.

If you find the cave, and enter it, you will see her sleeping there, pale as a snowdrop, lips like holly berries, hair as black as the bare branches of the beech tree in January. Don’t wake her – one touch of her white hand will freeze your soul, and leave you bound, another stone sentinel to guard her bedchamber.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.

#writephoto

Solstice

 

“We are all suns”

you said – “Burning

to live, burning to die”.

 

We light candles.

What else can we do?

 

These short days

leave us scrabbling

for light, longing

for the world to tilt,

to throw the sun

a little higher in the sky.

 

We light candles,

burn fires, seek warmth:

there’s an ancient forest

surging through

the house,

all that sunlight stored

in deep darkness, waiting

for us, for millenia.

 

We burn to live.

We burn to die.

 

A rather late solstice poem. Maybe it just works as a winter poem?