Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day In January

Day In January

This day

so cold, so grey, its icepoint knife,
its ashen-snowed walk-thru oblivion
where spirit steps freeze on fossil tar, raucous-
haunted by midnight crows, torn curtains of love
gone stiff in mid flutter ironed in sleet
that slants in through the windowed hole,

is a rose-colored palace, mottled red
by Mars, bleached clean by Venus
doored to the infinite city
quarried from stars,
growing up like an oak from
a foundation of rot

where what once lived ripens a
turned-under death for
another month to feed 
the secret green of possibility
with all its peculiar used atoms.

This day

where the ghost steps wander 
like a run-on sentence
under the widening moon,
the wolf moon, the hunger moon
made for the hunt.

~January 2016

Process note: wolf moon and hunger moon are Native American names for the month of January. Thanks to Josh Hart for the picture behind this poem.

Photo © Josh Hart, 2016 
All rights reserved.


  1. You captured January in all its essence. A month that forces introspection and hope for warmer days. This made me want to get out seed catalogues in defiance!

  2. "quarried from stars"..."peculiar used atoms"...get out of town witchoo bad self, Hedge. Originality is that rarest of birds, and you've got an aviary.

    This seems to me to be about rising from ruin, a second chance under unexpected--and perhaps harsh-- circumstances. In any case, i always love it when your words go on the hunt.

  3. Although April is the one with a reputation for cruelty, you've shown how January is a solid contender for the crown of Cruelest.

  4. Oh, heavens. I'm deeply in awe of this piece. Was gonna say I could not pick my favorite line (too many), but then this snowcrunch-walked out at me on my second read:

    "where the ghost steps wander
    like a run-on sentence
    under the widening moon"


  5. Hey Joy, first I love the original pic--it's very evocative especially in the negative-type quality that you pick up on in your first stanza re the ashen-snowed. This has a very surreal feel, and yet is also rooted in the very real and natural what with this sense of the red sunsets of the cold, and the turned-over life not yet finding out the green. There are many beautiful lines as others have pointed out-- I particularly love the idea of the crows flutter ironed by sleet--but to me what is most striking is that even though you end on a note of hunt and hungry, there is also the sense of renewal to come, no matter how desperate the hunt, just as the oak will grow though it only has rot to feed on--and you know, that's pretty wondrous--anyway very cool poem--thanks. k.

  6. This is both nature and human, your words sculpted from ice. love love love

  7. we had forgotten that heat in January comes at a price, and those who 'profit' seek incessantly to mute our reminder. it will still hunt, this month. ~

    1. damn this is even better on the next visit. and this line:

      with all its peculiar used atoms ~

  8. Wow, so many impeccable and glorious lines, especially "quarried from stars"....the imagery is stunning, as always, and the feeling of January is honed to perfection.

  9. Joy, January for me is the depth of dead season. Your images of life being etched and pressed in ice suits me fully. And my winters are indeed the time when I witness steps whose makers are gone, invisible. You've added many psychological colors to various tones in gray. As I look out the window, it all fits.
    Steve K.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats