Off you go on your tractor to split the wood.
Seems I’m always hailing you from a distance,
you at your work, I at mine watching you,
recording your work on a day in spring
that is already looking through summer
to the cold trap of winter beyond, knowing
the flare of color in fall a brief fire
that will not last but will end as we will––
brown and sere––pushed off our branch
by the buds of another spring.
March snow inches in
from the edge of the field
to the warming center
where sun and sod converge
in a soggy melt
as our wooden fingers,
our wooden toes
are warmed from the center
when blood flows out to extremities
trembling, and awaiting relief.
All is a-melt, including my soul
bound tight these months
by cords of cold that release it
gently, so as not to shock
with the feverish heat of change.
I would sweep the world clean with my yellow broom
but all I am asked to do is sweep my own
room, which is my world in this latter hour
when the sun sets early and naught flowers,
when all sinks deeper with each passing day
into the freezing ground that calls to sleep.
Fly-specked and dusty and perfectly mine
is this space for poetry out of time
where worry troubles not the moted air.
Once over the threshold nary a care
can raise its fleecy bothersome head
demanding attention I’ve already shed
when doffing my coat and winter hat
and lighting a fire, spit-spat.
Done, I assume the writer’s seat
pick up the pen and relish the heat.
Ink on paper, word on tongue …
a chant that can be daily sung
to invoke the Muse in all its glory
and contribute one note to the human story.
The calendar says the eighth of March.
The porcupine says, good night.
What dreams does he dream, this porcupine
asleep in the woodshed of my writing house
on this rainy morning in early March?
Does he dream of the first green shoots
of spring he dined on only last week
before cold descended again like the fist
of Odin, freezing streams and ponds
in a single night, and reclaiming seasonal
sovereignty, until this rain broke through
like a Viking horde?
With a sudden rush of slush
off the roof
the mind comes fully awake
and the body alive with surprise.
The temperature at 35
and the coming storm delayed
made room for nature to shovel
yesterday’s snow. As with a good
sneeze, the system is shaken
as I am shaking now.