The moon sheds silver shadows on the sky,
blue shadows on the snow;
the house-beams crack all night,
startling us with the news
that it is colder than we thought.
“Winter is closing in,” we say,
but winter moves us outward in imagination
to learn how cold it is to be exiled from the sun,
how lonely the darkness,
how welcome the light of any approaching star.
HERE IN THE NORTH
The radiators wakened me
(four a.m., after a night of blizzard)
alarmed me with their frantic gushing,
a niagara roaring through the system,
gurgling, swirling, growling
through every pipe, making the circuit
of the house with urgency.
Anxiety washed over me — not just
concern about the state of the furnace,
but dread of where we might be carried
beyond sleep, through the storm:
to what cold shore?
Day emerges with a rare shining:
not remnants of moonlight
or the early edge of dawn,
but the sheen of new snow
binding every branch.
Somehow the snowfall invaded
without waking us,
took over without resistance,
left us helpless at the window,
captives of beauty and cold.
When you live in the north
where winter, white ogre,
grips the calendar for months,
then a bird’ s song in mid-March
tastes like Spanish wine,
and your heart can easily miss a beat
at the sight
of a puddle.