by Rio Wulfmare
31/10 A Learned Land
“The morning is cold and crisp
after days of rain. The earth
is a land learning to breathe,
The air is thin, as if the
world has learnt to gasp. The held-
breath is a moment to grow,
The mist billows beneath the
willows and oaks, quietly. The dew
nestles in the grass and nettles,
The ants clamber out of
their houses. Little chimneys
begin their daylong piping,
Spring will shiver off this
coat of frost, soon. But Autumn Sun
pulls up its duvet, sleeps,
11/11 Whose Heart-House Hammers—A Poem for the Weekend, in Remembrance
and listen today to the glistening
body of dewy water
that ought to rot and scar
due to deflated words
that have not found birds
at any height—blistering
as Dream-country seems so far—
and hear near crickets stammer drone
fearing the icy hurtle-moan
of a henting wild-wind free
through a half-dead laurel tree
whose heart-house hammers
in the wind-throng hunted here—
and glean from the glass prison
the glistening lake that listens
absolutely nothing that’s loving
nothing that’s coming ‘cause uninflated words
found the birds unwinging unwilling
in the bark skeletons
considering Dream-country’s roof
22/11 When Winter Has its Day
Days grow shorter, duller, drear,
darkness leaves its bed.
Dawning mists sweep in, merciless,
muffling the kestrels, the red
deer’s roaring in the forests,
who watches Winter come.
Frigid freezes the rivers over:
fingers of ice are forming.
Fast becomes the mud beneath,
the fields long for morning,
the setts and burrows filling with a folk,
who watches Winter come.
Cozy cuddles hares in holes
and horses in their stables.
Tight their children twist at night,
eating olden fables,
and up our tables we sit for dinner,
and watch as Winter comes.
Warm the fire beats at our feet,
while we cook and laugh and—
already, Winter has its day.
Bright, shivering stones.
Winter blows—candles light the
lines of frigid homes.
25/12 Festive Spell
Slowly burns the lazy turning fires
these cold and weary days;
lowly golden flames blaze,
and nearby sing the young, holy choirs.
The cat, near the fire, lays.
A pack of frigid children huddles,
their toys forgotten in cold puddles,
and slowly marching home
they pass a line of gnomes
and find in the house how warmth cuddles.
Sumptuous twists, inside, the musky smells,
cinnamon, clove, and pine,
steaming wine, orange rinds,
all fine beside the hearth’s festive spell.
Soon the mice will come dine.
Nutcrackers stand on cool windowsills,
down the tinsel-lined stairs creeps a chill,
garlands twinkle, light glares,
baubles reflect the prayers
and there glistens the eggnog refill.
Someone’s by the fire, almost asleep,
one is drifting, book-long,
one is humming a song,
another’s in a small, blanket heap:
Christmas sleep reigns nightlong.