Roll those lowering gray winter clouds back,
like pulling up a too-long skirt,
and show us a little "leg"
- true-blue sky patches with floating cumulus -
to set us dreaming towards the birth
of another spring.
The sodden field lies waiting, fallow,
where next summer's hay crop promises
to once again
wave in golden splendor
where now clods of mud
cleave to the horses' hooves
as they search in vain for any remaining
blade of green.
stands stately and tall,
awaiting the March rains
to refresh his roots
and quench his long thirst,
before heat returns to the land.
The willow weeps, drooping and leaf-forsaken
and the birch trees pray
with blotched brown and white arms
to a heaven
that does not
seem to hear.
seem to hear.
The pond is dry, the bullrushes crisp and crackling,
its edges swampy, dormant, brackish,
yet, when the fog lifts, even in the cold,
one can feel the deadened ground
begin to stir, under the chilly distant sun.
Through cracks in the surface,
under the trees,
one can see stirrings,
snowdrops butting their tiny heads
through stagnant earth,
ferns and fiddleheads
suddenly straightening their stems,
once more raising their heads,
in that eternal dance
that is return to life.
February in the late-winter forest
is when winter tiptoes away,
and everything brown and dead
and yearning towards green
stretches itself once more
towards the sky.
And so do