Tag: cold

the uninvited

for once my crows
(my noisome watchers)
ignore the shrill complaints
of a wheeling gull
and crouch instead
on snow-tipped branches,
giving way to the whims
of a relentless wind

I’d invite them in
(my boot-blacked friends)
but they’d tease the dogs,
pluck my bright beads
from the lighted tree
and delightedly unwind
every blessed color
in the overflow of yarn

instead I stay ensconced
in dog-warmed blankets
and startlingly bright socks
and watch them accusingly
hunched in what I imagine
is a crowish glare
willing the chill of winter
through my windows

© Sarah Whiteley

The poor crows! It’s bright and beautiful outside at the moment, but it snowed overnight and there’s a very insistent wind out there with a decidedly arctic chill to it. I was swamped by all 5 of Coyote’s family this morning on my walk and I was sure to give them plenty of treats. I think Freyja was a little offended when the father across the street said “look at the birds!” to his little daughter instead of the usual “look at the doggie in the pretty sweater!”

Today is the perfect sort of day for hot chocolate and my largest knitting project on my lap. From where I sit, I can see the crows coming and going, stopping outside my window to see where the rest of their treats are.

down east

it was late November
when I drove toward Maine

I still hear how the wind
tore across the highway,
rattling doors and nearly
blowing that tired red Buick
into the frozen ditch

I had second, third – hell
sixth thoughts on the other
side of the state line,
but I kept right on –

forward was the only
way left even though
the pines all pointed
back the other direction

a body ought to listen
to things like weather
and the wind and when
either one isn’t at your back,

it might be that’s a sign
you should turn right around
and that just maybe somewhere
down around western Mass

a right instead of that left
might not have inflicted the kinds
of change that would alter the slant
of a year’s share of wakeful nights

but winter’s nothing way up there
if not a lesson, and my toes
nearly froze during that storm
when I tried to find my way

five miles on foot up that hill
to somewhere never home
through fourteen inches of snow
in flimsy shoes with branches
dropping shrapnel all around –

a few other things nearly
froze over, trust included,
and it’s a wonder I thawed
out at all and can carry on

as if it was nothing more
than a freak nor’easter moving
through or a turn in the wrong
direction against the wind’s advice
two hundred or so miles back

down east was the only place
I’ve ever had to lie to live
or pick a lock to save my own skin
five degrees below zero –

twenty minutes spent just chipping
at that ice to use a bent hanger –
something I used to think only
worked in the movies but prayed
to God it could be otherwise

in the end hope won out
and I fled west with a new
appreciation for thick soles
and the warnings pine trees
and a good strong wind
might heap at a vagrant’s feet

but these are the things
I don’t speak of

and thank-the-lord don’t often
think of, save now and again
when a freezing wind
rattles at my windows –

some frenzied remnant
fighting to be let back in
and sometimes –
the old familiar ice still
finds a way beneath the sill

© Sarah Whiteley

Know this is outside of my norm, but have been wanting to clean the cobwebs out of this particular closet for a while now. Wrote this years ago and never posted it as it never felt “right” – but have reached the moment when I’ll tweak and peck it at no more. And in return, it will tweak and peck at ME no more!

perfect hour

Sunday morning,
coffee made strong,
maple donuts fetched,
and you still asleep –
wrapped up deep
within my blankets
against the bustling cold
from my open windows

me in my chair,
mug in hand,
feet curled beneath me –
torn between watching
the startling sight
of a hummingbird
in fresh snow or the slow
rise of your shoulders
in bearish hibernation

© Sarah Whiteley

I did see a little hummingbird Sunday morning in the snow. I know of at least two feeders within a block, so I’m sure he’s getting fed, but still startling to see the little guy in the snow.

*

it is a sparse sort of day
of struggling light
and freezing hours and hands
that can’t ward away
the numb from stiff fingers
the crows are quibbling
over something fallen
in the street beneath
the lamp post where in
twos and fives they’ve
taken to diving at it
and at each other
quarrelsome in the weak
late afternoon light
best to remain inside
with the kettle on
and feet swathed in
double pairs of
defiant-colored socks

© Sarah Whiteley

Is it too soon to be wishing for spring? I found myself looking forward to cherry blossoms already yesterday.

talismans

the leaves have dropped
burnt out finally after
the last conflagration
and the fog drifts in
most mornings now
a shroud for ashen skies
hangs about sometimes
until noon even
days like this call
for extra cups of coffee
with an extra spoon of sugar –
something hot and sweet
to cup chilled hands about
a talisman against graying days
and the sooner dark
thoughts of you
were once my August
in the icy weeks to come
now I have the warmly
snoring bodies of dogs
and extra doses
of coffee the color
of 5 AM in December

© Sarah Whiteley