I heard of a friend dying and I thought of the person left behind, in winter, when there seems to be no consolation anywhere, so I hoped that maybe sitting outside on a wooden bench, feeling the strength of the wood, might help. And there’s such a lot to cherish on winter nights. I hoped the beauty and bitter cold would make themselves felt as friends at a time when a silent friend was needed.
WINTER IS COMING
Winter is coming, circling around the house and garden
The grass already white over,
The last of the dahlias bending their heads to the cold.
Over the hedge, a fierce, clear brilliance sets everything sparkling.
Even the big tree, all leaves lost, stands white and starry.
Somewhere, over the fields, a fox barks,
Sending the plump little pheasants huddling deeper into cover.
Darkness down the quiet street,
Split now by a square of yellow light flaring in an anxious window.
Not long after, the long car of a night Doctor pulls up silently.
A brisk tap tap of sharp heels urgent to the waiting door wide open,
Makes the sleeping houses quiver.
All those still awake, sinking deeper into their restless pillows,
Pulling the covers over their heads.
Slowly, the moonlight drifts across the garden,
Lovely shards of icy silver picking out the stray black cat,
Courageous as any Roman conqueror,
Shadowing the grass with his magnificent presence.
Then the creak of an old bench, as someone, out there in the darkness,
Newly bereft and soundlessly weeping clutches at the solid wood.
Praying its solidity will lend itself to their splintered grief
In this new world they are suddenly lost in.
This is the way it is, when winter is circling around the house and garden,
And people are lying in their beds, thinking.
© 2018 Gwen Grant