Pressed for time, so I'm revisiting a poem I wrote some years ago, when we lived in Cambridge, for a Christmas card. This one is marginally less gloomy than the last one I posted, but then I sort of like gloomy, which is why winter in England tended to make me happy rather than otherwise.
I sent the card with this poem to, among many other people, the vicar, who must have liked it because it wound up in a book recounting the history of the parish -- I didn't know this until much later, when we finally got around to ordering our copy.
Anyway, here it is:
Poem in Advent
At twilight the poplars, upright and naked,
wear starlings like restless leaves. Unafflicted
by the cold, they come and go in noisy shifts,
filling the trees, free-falling into updrafts
which lift them, corporate, voluntary smoke-rings
to surf the air above the roofs: a smudge of wings,
harbinger of every winter nightfall,
the robin's opposite, but never mournful
as if winter were an absence, an antithesis
to hope. Let the evening draw its noose
tighter, let tires on the wet street
sigh, From night you were created; unto night
shall you return. Do you despair? The starling
host circles, rises, falls, a black swirling
on the sky, one winged mind come to roost
where there's no shelter, only wet branches tossed
like skeleton flames ignited by the wind.
Darkness, careful, cups them in its hand.
from Life and Times of LSM: A Living History,
with grateful acknowledgment to the Vicar and Churchwardens.
Be sure to visit the rest of the Poetry Friday neighborhood, located this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect.