Bristling darkness, we bow and obey
the stern command laid down in ages past,
that when the Sun trudges its southern way,
its time to take shelter from icy blast
and bone-bending chill. Pile up your wood;
but remember it burns swift at first cold
and recall how long this season stretches.
Festival fires are cheerful and good,
but death in winters a story so old,
we often forget what truths it teaches:
be the neighbor with a shovel to spare,
or an extra hand on the icy road.
keep the larder full with something to share,
and let no work become a heavy load
for one heart alone. Praise all sunny days,
though short, with clouds of steaming breath outdoors,
leave gifts for squirrel and raucous-voiced jay.
Let your intentions bend when blizzard plays
on your roof; or when influenza roars
though your house: darkness and cold rule this day,
and many more dawns and dusks yet to be.
Wait On Small Hopes: the husk of the seed cracks,
though the pale white shoots have yet to work free.
Both fox and turkey make familiar tracks
performing their daily obligations,
unless they meet in a scuffle of snow
smeared with scarlet and broken brown feather.
Winter shall claim her lawful libations,
but Darkness will shrink, and the Light will grow,
promising life and warmer weather.