Five Reasons to Love the Long Nights of Winter

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

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Match girl

There’s the polished moon again
hanging in its velvet sky,
and the stars
in party clothes–
every sunset’s a new occasion
to haul out the jewels.

The night’s a rich affair
invitation only
and I linger on the sidewalk
like a match girl skirting
the houses of the wealthy
with their bright lights, laughter,
and clinking crystal–

Hoping someone’s gaze will turn,
spot the princess beneath my rags
and pull me in to their magical soirée.

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For that next bright dawn

The geese, all week,
have been flying. Home.
Away from this sharp promise of snow
cutting through crisply darkening skies
south, to the crucible of summer.

Their far-carrying call
slicing through the high, cold air
picks up our hearts by the scruff
and deposits them, safe
but shaken and absurdly hungry
for that next bright dawn in March.

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Those tenacious tendrils

Squash plants: how the tendrils cling
fiercely to the nearest thing

persistently insinuating
yet with the merest touch.

Climbing up the chain link fence
their daintiness is all pretense

the weight they hold – it makes no sense!
They’re strong as Jean Valjean.

Melons, gourds, meaty orange Hubbards
will soon be resting in our cupboards

that is, if we can move those mothers:
those tenacious tendrils.

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Audio version: http://bit.ly/1y2ebId
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Break the walls

The outdoors
with its careless wings and scavenging feet
invades through the brick and wood
and breathing spaces of my July home.

Hidden passageways open their secret doors:
grasses, crumbs, and damp dark spaces compel
the frontier crossers, oblivious
to my imagined boundaries.

Sheep come through the rail fence
spiders decorate the ceiling corners
ants and earwigs by the dozens
trace pathways for their friends.

And the tiny winged ones occupy the air,
living their short lives until they fall
to the sill, casting long shadows
across the polished wood where I sweep them up.

A saviour, I scoop the insects
out and out and out. My kitchen cloths lie strewn
across the deck while small, unwilling tourists
ponder their new landscape.

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