Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter Wood

Here at the dead of winter I turn
to the utter silence of the frozen wood.
Here, in the ice-gripped dripping dark
far from the commerce of silver and gold
there’s stillness, finally, if not peace
to soothe or cure a troubled heart.

Here, you can think yourself at the heart
of the world, moveless center of turning.
Here the water is cold and peaceful
and you widen ears that were dull as wood
to hear the far sound of trumpets, golden
announcing the light at the end of the dark—

announcing an end to the trouble and darkness
that weigh so heavy on your weary heart.
Ice can glitter brilliant as gold
and water will shine as bright in its turn
throwing leaf-shadows up into the wood.
Winter and summer, it’s all of a piece

and we need these quiet times to appease
the restless demons that stalk in the dark,
that haunt the burning of the summer wood.
Winter is time for the resting heart
to heal, waiting for life to return
waiting for sun and summer’s gold.

Dawn breaks with a streak of fugitive gold
and still you worry it. Be at peace.
Search, but leave a few stones unturned
so that the soft things that live in the dark
can flourish a while. Light can be heartless,
betraying the secrets of the winter wood,

revealing a truth as bitter as wormwood.
It’s true what they say, silence is golden.
Your ears can hear so much less than your heart.
The trees remind you: be still, hold your peace
eat the cold earth, drink water and darkness,
stand still, let your feet feel the earth turning.

A dark sky awaits the sun’s return.
Sap stands still in the heart of wood.
The peaceful horizon is limned in gold.

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