Winter Ode

the brightness of winter’s powder removes
the coarseness of withered grass and leaves
chill banishes all staleness from the air
stars glitter while planet stalking moon reproves
limits of an incomplete science and grieves
for older cast-off arguments concerning it
and mystic gods that once inhabited there
told by antique weavings startling knit
and fleeing maids, tears, mortal despair.

nightly a sparse coyote band howls
plotting with staggered chorus to convince
instinct-sensed ghosts of primeval enemies
that those banshee sounds origin from bowels
of a larger pack than eyes might evidence
the ear is easily fooled, the dark, the distant
especially among the windy trees
whose boughs can snap in an instant
bringing life’s roil to sudden freeze.

mind like gaze skips on the surface
of all bright with sparkling enchants
claws to reach what it cannot have
that absent form the form it worships
with longing prayer and frenzied dance
echo a lost epoch’s forgotten dream
anodyne of erasing salve
sweeter than water from a stream
or roasted flesh of dripping calve.

such thoughts through a window are winter-fit
but outside the casements other laws take hold
from woolen coat and fleece-lined boot
winter’s knives receive their interdict
and into darkness and the silv’ry cold
avidly one takes the icy plunge
below us sleep more than just root
but every worried thought we would expunge
is mummy-wrapped by joy at owl’s hoot.

along vaporous trails through eerie mist
ice crackles by river’s warmer currents
lapping at its softer underside
may every lover be so kissed!
for every promise the season warrants
is bound to break by earth’s revolved degree
yet winter is not love’s homicide
nor do its camouflaged gifts come free
for in their wake the desperado Furies ride.

still driven far from hearth’s warm fire
far from radiant chimney brick
into blizzard’s blades, the rough caress
not always to comforts does flesh aspire
but at times to congresses less politic
yes, sharp burnings of a crystal world
sensation of intellect, but not sensuous
nature’s nakeder tastes uncurled
death’s envelope waits those of unfit dress
but what living to survive!

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