This morning at the farms along the road

Twelve wild turkeys on their barnyard tour lumber from the woods
a haphazard file of sumptuous brown bodies pulled by naked heads and red chins
across the farmhouse lawn to the spot where chicken feed lies scattered every morning
they begin determined digging

Five black-and-white spotted cows and a brown sprawl on the thick hay pile that rises
from the snow and two more sleep standing with early spring sun heating their backs
one lying at the edge wakes and chews turning her large white-patched eye
to watch the foot traffic

Four horses stand under thick red blankets munching hay
heads bent to the ground and tails rarely twitching as it is still too cool
for bugs but even in the safety of the yard their lead mare lifts her brown head
and flares her nose watching long minutes for threats from across the field

Two black furry puppies with floppy ears and strong short legs
bark and run fast and free of any fear almost tripping
down the hill to waggle their muscular bodies in a yipping welcome
of a friend climbing the path

One cinnamon Labrador falls to the battered wooden floor of the old milk house
rhythmically thumping her tail on the boards and baring her belly for a long rub
she lifts her head for a close and steady gaze
licking the wrist of the hand that pats her

Two young huskies lie behind their fence breathing the cold air after their second
morning walk and five horses in the next field look up at the sound of footsteps on the road
at a passing shadow a chipmunk darts into the stone fence while the red squirrel
chats a warning from high in the bare maple

In the house a ladybug clinging at the water line sips from the cats’ bowl
bread cooling on the counter fills the air with its light baked yeasty smell
the eggs are washed and gleaming in their soft shades of brown and green
the world proceeds with its small rituals

~~~

This hush

Late-winter evening, a light snow,
6:30 on the first day
after the clocks spring ahead

standing on the road below my house
surrounded by fields, woods
and a profound quiet

my ears throb with stillness and a faint ring
from the city traffic I’ve left behind
for minutes no other sound comes by

I listen beneath soft flakes
in a luminous glow
of muted afternoon sun on snow

then solitary barking carries over far fields
brief squawking rises from the trees
down the long trail of the road

around the bends
an engine slowly draws near
and yet I hear

this
hush

~~~

When he was a little boy … Elliott’s 15th-birthday poem

When he was a little boy
he’d whisper
in his mother’s ear

(Do you remember?)

Standing close, beside her chair,
softly,
so no one could hear.

“Tell them yourself!”
his mom would urge,
when he’d whisper
in her ear.

But he’d just shake
his auburn curls,
softly,
so no one could hear.

Now he is a grown up boy,
standing tall and speaking loud.

He does interesting things
that get him noticed in a crowd!

Teaching tiny kids to ski,
sometimes he has to speak up loud.

And it’s not just anybody
who can play keyboard
for a Blues Fest crowd!

He’s a nice lad to be around,
standing tall and speaking loud.

And when his parents look at him
you can tell
they are so proud.

But

we do miss that little boy,
speaking so no one can hear.

We like to think
he’s in there still,
whispering
in his big boy’s ear.

~~~

To hear this poem read aloud, play the Evernote audio file

August Rain

The year has turned
to the round month,
the orange one,

month of steam and droning bees,
time when we first remember
the end is tumbling near.

Green and yellow hang in the air
and we bask in the sun’s fullness
like sweet, plump raisins

curving toward a scarcer heat,
the crust of summer
sun-buttered and baked to a crisp sheen.

Some mornings, mist hangs so heavy
a solitary heron blends with the water’s edge,
grey

into grey.
This afternoon, thunder strikes a pose,
proves itself rain’s herald

and swallows the sun. Rain pours heavy
along the river. Later, in the opening air,
thick with humidity and a soft

elegance,
leaves drip with relief and a deeper green
moves from the centre of things

to hover at the edge
of the trees’ dark spaces. Silence
moves aside for the first bird.

 

“August Rain” first published in Economies of Gratitude by Ellen Symons. Penumbra Press 2007

~~~

Sadness, I instruct you

For my dear friend

And now, sadness,
I instruct you
to be still.

Let these bones rest. Marrow
pale and depleted by memory
and forgiveness,
they are weary and cannot stand your shaking.

Let the exhausted heart
encased in this bombarded cage beneath my skin

jarred by your gnashing and clamouring

float in the buoyancy of you forgetting

for a moment

to squeeze it dry.

Do not bewilder
me with your wailing.

Now I tell you:
Let me be.

~~~

Five Reasons to Love the Long Nights of Winter

This poem is one I wrote maybe a decade ago, but it still expresses something important to me about the beauty, peace, and comfort of this time of year.

Unwind.com

After a bright afternoon’s quickening light
To be cradled by dusk,
Its slowly sit-down darkening

To contemplate the softening outline of the old cat
Curled warm on your grey-trousered lap

To watch the women and men with briefcases and backpacks
Walk from the bus toward darkened houses

To see a glow appear here or there and know
The tired homecomings have begun

To unravel the mysteries of your heart
That can only be glimpsed when the busy sun
Pulls up its thick shadows
And the arms of the evening encompass all

____________________

View original post