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

____________________

A poem written under the influence of Billy Collins*

Sitting on the sofa, staring at the perfect flames;
the two cats, having argued over who gets the lap and who
the haunch, now settled in their places;
I’m thinking about a perfect life, which is what this looks like.

Rain drums on the roof and falls in waves from that one place
where the eave is blocked with leaves. I think about the sheep
in the next-door field, and how their wool might smell,
soaked and muddy. Not shorn and washed, combed and spun and dyed,
and in my hands with circular needles
and a simple scarf pattern;
but live and wiry, doing its job: temperature-moderator, dirt-catcher,
bramble-intervenor.

I think of you, and what it means that you are sitting there,
and the scarf in my hands is a gift for you, and the fire
in the hearth is one you laid and lit.
I’m thinking about a perfect life, which is what this looks like.

*Billy Collins is a contemporary American poet, Poet Laureate of the US 2001-2003. I was recently introduced to his work by the enthusiasm of my friends Dove and Lorri, and I am grateful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Collins