“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful… ” When it snows, the world looks clean and bright, unless you have to drive in it. Snow looks best viewed from the window, although this photo was taken from the top of Billinge Lump, by me. Today’s poems are coming in out of the cold and getting cosy, or watching the snow from indoors.
At first, just grey, the sky snow-laden,
and far-off sheep like stones on winter fells.
An old man, moleskinned-up and twine cinched,
times his bootsteps to the drub of a gale, the rub
of a collie, close and low, gathering shadows
in her wall-eyed squint.
Cloud, loosed from drystoned horizons,
blows across lead-mines, through the marsh,
swabbing tractor gouges, hoof-poached peat,
the upturned, blackened face of soil.
Hear curlew madrigals, lapwing decussate the mist,
an old man coughing, nipped to his core.
Grey houses, hunkered under ferny crags,
impervious to rain and storm, to swirl and flood
of windslapped river, to fallen willow creeled
beneath a stone-arched bridge where cows once trod,
home for the milking, reds and whites
with fondant eyes.
A boy, who taunted the Angus bull
with stick and cat-calls, who barely lived
to brag another day, pulls broken crayfish traps
from underneath the half drowned stepping-stones,
his brick-red, scarred reflection wavering
in pools and eddies.
Sweet stink of mistle and, resting by the wall,
redundant milk-churns, lipped white with fungus,
plump haloes of stars. Among the ash trees,
through the wych elms, all about the ancient
wet woods, jackdaws swagger, gather twigs
to drop down unprotected stacks.
A wood-stove dissipates the chill, flames flower
through gloom, like strewn geraniums, warm
cold, wet feet and shiny, chilblained fingers
and everything is reddened, drying, thawed.
A long-night moon bestrides the dale, snow settles,
and a home bound vixen shrieks.
Look, look, I call,
come and look
through the window.
in half a minute,
pull back the curtains.
cloud-fall of crystals
their own weight,
feathering brick walls,
blossoming on kerbsides,
bins with bridal white. .
One shake of the sky
and we’re outside
Some seek the fire,
I seek the moon
Winter’s sharp cold
clarifies skies, inner thoughts.
Just when we think it is most cruel,
winter drapes bare branches in
garments of frosty glory.
Inside, most sit by fire’s light
seeking its warm glow
warmth as an inner respite
from, an antidote to
Though inside, I’m
by the window
watching snow fall,
flake by flake
down silver paths set by
my lawn with the rainbow
glow of light on frost, glorying
in cold comfort.