Poems for Early Winter

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

hammers daylong

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

from afar—

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.

05/12   Goldhome

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.

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