The party’s over. The revelers wander
arm in arm into the night, leaving
their favors and streamers dangling
like seed pods from the chandeliers,
holding their laughter and hope.
Who knows, at dawn,
what will come of them,
of the revelers, of their hopes.
It’s a new year, a new day.
Anything is possible.
You would think that in this biting cold,
with its stark spaces and sharp air,
the world would be hostile place.
Yet look how the azalea holds its leaves open.
Look how gently the snow lays itself down.
Let me create for you panoramic vistas
of snow-strew valleys and hills, with rivers,
black-green, that wear red branches
along their banks. Let me spread stars
in a milky stream across your sky, and
roll deserts of undulating sand for miles.
Let me give you endless seas whose moods
change with every passing hour. And may you find it
all so pleasing that you never get enough of it,
not in a hundred years.
At last, the snow has come. Let’s dance,
my darling, let’s dance. It may not be
the main song, but this overture will do.
Let’s put on our dancing shoes and try
a whirl or two. Let’s sway our boughs
in rhythm and step into the cold and dance
a waltz for snowtime, and the melodies
it holds. Let’s dip and bow to snowflakes,
fallen from the stars, and to the wind
that brings them to our outstretched arms.
The snow is finally falling. It’s season
has begun. Let’s waltz into its sparkle
and celebrate its fun.
If it’s going to be winter, it may as well snow.
It may as well drape the boughs with crystal
and invite the children out to play. It may as well
etch the branches of the woodlands and scatter
powdered diamonds on the lawn. If it must
be cold, it may as well grace us with beauty,
with the shimmering love-flakes falling now
from the high silvery sky, with the grand silent song
January struts her colors down winter’s runway.
Subtlety, class. That’s her style. A monochromatic
color scheme, a flounce of feathers against rough bark,
an understated elegance of texture and line. She’s got it.
Watch for the reviews. I’m betting she gets raves.
The wind swept through the high limbs of the trees,
clearing the clouds, inviting our spirits to ride
its song across the dazzling blue. And ride we did,
holding the wind’s mane, yowling like cowboys,
glad to be free on this vast plain, after so many days
of gray, even if it wouldn’t last, even if we’d wake
the next morning to charcoal clouds and snow.
Between snows, the winter floor
lays bare, a tapestry of fallen leaves,
pressed against the earth, protecting
her, dissolving into her, nourishing
her with their return. The fabric
is soft and giving beneath my boots,
its musky feminine fragrance
enveloping me as I walk, tasting
like the wondrous moment exactly
between death and birth.
Offer them the slightest chance
to bloom and they’ll take it. One
little nod from the weather
and here they come, smiling
right back. Perfect circumstances
mean nothing to them. So snow
may come. So what? Today
I can blossom, and blossom I will.
I call that intrepid. I offer them
applause and a smile of my own.
What you see out there comes from
what you feel and believe, not the other way
around. Why just yesterday, for example,
I was marveling at the miracle of a berry tree,
full of fruit right here in the middle of winter,
my heart dancing with delight, when a song
came tumbling through the branches
in a playful game of hide and seek,
and when I finally spotted its source,
a cardinal dressed in Valentine red,
we both sang Hello at the very same time,
and then we laughed, and we both flew away.