Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Winter's Relic

 
 
 

 
 
 
 Winter's Relic


Winter is on the steps
and in my hair. She croons
as she starves sparrows
rocks pigeons dead in the cradle.

Spare me her holy patience
her frost palimpsest on the window
her holiday coffins.

Feed me instead
on figs and sangria
scarlet under a firecracker sky
rippling with heat and Spanish moons.
 
Throw me on a bed white with
linen, not this nullity of snow that
 melts away beneath my fever.

Let me have something
besides these starving cats
under my skin, hear something besides the blues
they blow like a train-whistle from

 the feral saxophones of their  throats.
But if I open my eyes,
I see reflected only winter's relic;

a twist of shadow in the blizzard,
trying to hold back the wind,
while around me the plague
doctors work, looking for

blood from the stoned, and
the Fearless Captain stands at the door
overseeing our dispossession.
 
 

December 2021




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 posted for

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Images: Looking southwest from Five Barrows under Snow, ©James Ravellius Fair Use
The Snow Queen Flies through the Winter Skies, © Edmond Dulac   Public Domain 

10 comments:

  1. this was such an enjoyable read - jam-packed lines that move the reader along a vivid train of thought
    " She croons
    as she starves sparrows
    rocks pigeons dead in the cradle."

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  2. There is so much here, Joy. I, too, love the opening stanza with its perishing birds, as well as the passage about the cats under the skin (!) and the shadow in the blizzard. The Captain here is as different as different can be from Laura's, and that is the beauty of writing for a word list in the way that you have--it can echo the source or go in its own direction entirely. Indeed, you know i don't like vampire poems, and this is original, stark, and beautifully written with, I detect, just a little Lorca or Neruda in the middle for contrast with the bleakness of the winter. Finally, I love "Year of the Cat" in the tags. I have always adored the Al Stewart song of that title, though here again, your meaning is altogether different than Stewart's.

    I am so pleased that you wrote this for my prompt and took such care to make it special. Thank you.

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  3. Calleach blues are frostbite at this hour of the year, devouring nature with her usual bag of horrors while walking the human sick-wards with her frozen stick, whispering this one, that one too ... (In the past week, the sister of our house-painter's wife and the VP of marketing for my company were covered with her COVID snow). Figs and sangria must have been in winter solstice celebrations, brandishing a brightness like this against the wolfing cold and dark. This is fighting for one's life in the great dark. A hedge-spell woven with bonefire. Atta girl.

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  4. Winter has such a bite, and you captured the feel it provides so wonderfully here Joy! I can feel the sting, and the longing. Absolutely amazing!

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  5. Wow, Hedgewitch, so many good lines, so much powerful imagery. Quite frightening! You give me chills! As an onlooker, I marvel at the unfolding scene, but I also want to turn tail and run! These gorgeous lines resonated with me:

    "Feed me instead
    on figs and sangria
    scarlet under a firecracker sky
    rippling with heat and Spanish moons."

    "Let me have something
    besides these starving cats
    under my skin,"

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, man! You killed it. "She croons / as she starves sparrows" and this is phenomenal: "Let me have something / besides these starving cats / under my skin" Yes to the train whistles and the feral saxophones. Death as the Fearless Captain of our dispossession is so freaking ominous!

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  7. the title in the stanza - the turn before it: "But if I open my eyes" is such a powerful pivot from the dreams interspersed in the two verses before it.

    and yes, a blue winter ~

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  8. Feed me instead on figs and sangria scarlet under a firecracker sky rippling with heat and Spanish moons ~~~
    I will refer back to these words as winter does her best to “do us in!” And I will dream a little dream.

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  9. Thoroughly enjoyed this! What a read! The contrasts here juxtaposed so beautifully jar us from resignation to awareness. The imagery just blows me away, Joy. I can't get enough of such lines as "Spare me her holy patience/her frost palimpsest on the window/her holiday coffins." Winter and all her attendant discomforts only drives home our mortality, something "the plague doctors" work to stave off, "looking for blood from the stoned." A "blue winter" indeed.
    Pax,
    Dora

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  10. I think we all long for figs and sangria in winter. So much feeling and longing captured in this, Joy, and with such skill.
    JIM

    ReplyDelete

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