Welcome to winter. For northern folk, and that’s what we all are in Europe and America, the coming of winter is an inevitability that rounds out our lives and prefigures the end of our lives.
The poem which follows is not full of summer graces, nor flowers, nor joy. I wrote it in August, when the temperature outside was above a hundred, but it is still a winter poem. I would say I don’t know where it came from, but that would only mean that it came unbidden when I was working on other things. It was committed to paper in five minutes, in its first form, and polished in twenty. That is rare for me.
In truth, I know where it came from, and so will you.
The Hard and the Soft
There is a soft season and a hard season,
And now the hard season has come.
Through the springtime and the summer,
When green was the color of the world,
Fruits of the earth abounded.
Children were conceived in joy
And brought forth in fullness.
Now is the hard season,
The color of the earth is stone gray,
The water is hard and the ground is stony hard.
Children of this season come out hungry
Crying with harsh voices that give no joy,
Troubled by deep hungers that allow no rest.
She was born of summer,
He was born of winter.
They joined together, and she made him whole,
for a space,
for a little space.
But now it is the season of cold
And he has turned back
to his true nature.