|A winter's day|
I am missing winter.
There - I've said it and you can pelt me with rotten apples if you want.
Today is cloudless, the sun is warm and the snowdrops are rushing out as if they'd missed the early train.
But I see daffodil leaves and bluebell shoots poking up too.
It is the 12th of January for heaven's sake.
What happened to 'due season'?
In place of winter we have monsoon and everything squelches beneath my feet, while new and unwelcome leaks have appeared in our house as tired old fabric gives way to the merciless onslaught of water.
For just one morning this week, we woke to the still silence of frost, a gentle shroud of thick winter mist. Our lovely, meagre trees were cocooned in soft white cloud, and a pearlescent ivory glow replaced the light of day.
But one morning is not enough.
I want the moody river, the intransigent earth and the sleeping garden. I want the sharp, cold knife of frost, and the forgiveness of snow.
I want winter.
I have posted this poem before, but, as I haven't been writing any poetry recently, here it is again.
After all, nothing has changed.
Give me a winter's day, all knuckle-
bare, with nothing left to lose,
a day you couldn't choose in summer
when froth lies on the daydream.
But give me a winter's day: the lean
picked bones of trees gaunt on the
purple air, a sigh of wood smoke
drifting on the breeze. These are my
thin, spare pleasures, my treasures
rare - all fair and square my own.
Not summer's careless bounty do I
swear by, but these certain measures:
the clean, warm snuffle-breath
of cows, soft by the flung farm sheds,
the sparrows there at dawn to share
my breakfast bread. This is my wealth
when life pares to the quick: a half-
fledged, squeamish day, with sifting rain
on fields all blanched and slick, a cold
low sky uncertain when to lift,
the late grey dawn a sudden, unexpected
gift of pooling gold peeling back the east;
this heartbeat rush of wind-torn paper
rooks across bleak skies, the emptiness
that hurts the wide horizon of my eyes,
a feast of snowdrops caught beneath
the hedge - give me a winter's day.