Monday, February 3, 2014

Prayer in Late Winter

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.

Grandfather Cedar
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.

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


  1. ah i look forward to stretching...makes me think of those first days of sun, when the world is warm once more and you feel it on you skin and know spring has surely come...

    i fear we might have to wait just a bit longer....darn groundhog...ha.

  2. Amen to this beautiful prayer, Sherry!! Wonderful close. It's been snowing non-stop and more to come this week. I'm ready for Spring! :)

  3. I love the detail here and then Grandfather Cedar! Winter tiptoes away. Yay!

  4. Soon winter will be a bygone and spring will usher.

  5. Oh, this is such a breathtakingly beautiful poem! Absolutely stunning! It is a poem that I can spend the whole day rereading and pondering over. So poetic and so many incredible images and poetical turns. I love it!

  6. I am one of those people/things stretching toward spring. This has been a cold winter for this southern flower.

  7. Sherry, this is so beautiful! Incredible, incredible imagery.

  8. here the late February forest is buried under six feet of snow... :) the slightest smidgen of Spring will be most welcome...

  9. Ah, nice to think that you can see "stirrings" It will be quite a while before we see stirrings here, I think. We have abundant white and more will follow today. I like the idea of winter tiptoeing away. It cannot tiptoe too soon. Actually I wish it would run. Smiles.

  10. Sherry this poem is precious. I love how it starts, by the sky pulling up its skirt. What an image! Then the rest - so full of earth's happenings in preparation for change.

  11. Oh, I love this, Sherry, but it sure isn't true here. Six more weeks of winter here in prairie-dog country, then another six of cold. Some greening will happen in April, tulips and blossoms in May, and the ground finally soft enough and warm enough for planting. All very strange to me. I miss the coast.

  12. This is lovely, Sherry! We are still enjoying winter--my husband loves to ski and I've gotten into cross-country skiing which is very nice and slow and, once you have the skis, does not require money! Your poem has such a delicious sense of the brown-ness of it all! Thanks. k. (Manicddaily)

  13. I hope the rain hears the stretched limbs of those trees, Sherry, all up and down the west coast of Normerica ~


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