Saturday, January 18, 2020

Winter In The Blood

Winter In The Blood

The harvest is lost in the fields
when you're riding the crest of the flood;
spring is forever gone south
once winter gets into your blood.

Do the spirits you send me at night,
who twitch in the day's flame of dream,
long for a life behind glass
where their grief-mirrors silently scream?

I hang up their bottles by noon
as the mist leaves the prickling wood;
how it crawls where the heart cannot come
for winter has got in its blood.

Don't haunt the dead doorway tonight.
Don't put your white worm in the bud.
Don't look through the glass like you know
that winter was born in my blood.

August 2019-January 2020

a quick singsong, for Fireblossom at

"In old southern tradition, hanging bottles from a tree is intended to catch or confuse negative spirits.."

Images: Lace and Ghosts, 1856, drawing © Victor Hugo Public Domain. Manipulated.
Bottle Tree,  Author Unknown. Fair Use.


  1. The white worm in the bud was a fantastic line that gave me chills, Joy. You've caught the mood of these bottles and of the day, I think, at least where I am. Winter has arrived to vex us. However, I suspect that I know what this poem is also about and that only makes it all the more immediate and chilling. I hope I'm wrong about that.

    Thanks so much for being part of my prompt, dear BFF. It wouldn't be the same if you weren't there. <3

  2. Oh how the ghosts of what once was can haunt us. This is amazing Joy, so full of beauty with a forlorn feel. (I should have had your name down by now....I always just see the J on FB.):-))

  3. Flawlessly written, Joy. The "grief-mirrors silently scream," the "winter in the blood," the perfect rhyme and metre......wonderful. The white worm in the bud is an ominous note.

  4. The stark emptiness numbs the heart.

  5. The living tide ebbs, the darker one waxes. Which wave now bears our name? The possessed are capable of such address, but so too the diver who brings back pearls .. A deep-winter poem and such infernal recognition in that last line -- suddenly we see the glass is a mirror. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!

  6. Oh, those bottles really spoke to you. It can be tough when winter owns the spirit. I agree, this piece brings chills.

  7. Wonderful, wonderful words! I love the rhythm and the rhyme and the mysterious tale you have told.

    1. Thank you, Kerry, for going back to read. It's much appreciated, and I hope you found it worth the work--I know commenting and reading is one of the hardest things we have to do, some days--it is for me, anyway... It's good to see you out and about, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with for the 55 next week.

  8. I feel the winter you describe so beautifully in my bones .... (however I made up my mind to "embrace winter" this year, so far it's working)

    1. Probably a good philosophy. Thanks for reading, Helen.


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

Comment Moderation Has Been Enabled