Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Something Grows In Winter


Something grows in winter
Out of the dead, frost-embalmèd leaves.
I do not know its name, for there is no
Botanist can study these preternatural buds,
No encyclopaedia lays bare its Latin alias.
Spectrally it rises from icy lakes, breath-like
It billows into our hibernating lives.
Its clammy fingers scuttle inside our marrow,
Take root. Flower. Give forth fruit.

“We now are halfway out of the dark,”
We say, and clap our hands when all the world
Seems lit with candles, and fairy lights
Festoon the trees. Yet still it grows,
The spring’s sickening antecedent,
Still it burrows, like the mole, into our heads
Or out of our deadened ears and eyes.

The night retreats, and the day grows long;
We stumble in from the cold, back to the fire,
One branch fewer than this time last year.
As the sun comes up, we give thanks in the light
That we faced down death, outlived one more night.

(3 January 2017)

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