Monday, March 4, 2013

Tuesday Poem: originally published by Lake Effect Magazine in 1987

Hermit In Winter

To live without words,
to be muffled thump of axe,
hiss of snowshoe floating over hillsides.

At night the forest air is black ice, so you have to 
be a furnace, fueling, always fueling, warming each 
sub-zero gasp with your mouth and leathery lungs.

To wear wolf near your face,
go deep as an old trout,
growl out bear songs at dusk.

When you let a breath go, it haloes around you, 
gray as the gloom overhead, and when work is done 
there's burrowing into the hut's blood warmth, 
its door flaps: valves thudding shut.

To squat among the drifts, wailing with the wind,
to call your own cadence of days,
choose shadow over light.

At night, winter never 
stops beating,
and you are its heart.


Kathleen Jones said...

I love this description of cold. Especially having just come back from the equator. A beautiful poem.

Rethabile said...

Very nice closing. Thanks for the poem and the journey it takes us on.

Zireaux said...

Very nice. Hearth and heart. To be the hiss of the snowshoe, the haloed breath, the wailing of the wind. To be consumed by the winter -- to become the winter. I think of Stevens's "Snow Man" and "It was Beginning Winter" by Roethke. And I think the wolf in your poem is the same wolf keeping warm beside the fire of Tim Jones's post this week.

AJ Ponder said...

I was caught by the wolf - but it was the - "...choose shadow over light" That was the killer. Really enjoyed this one :)