Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,  

A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;  

Blinks but an hour or two; and then,  

A blood-red orange, sets again.  


Before the stars have left the skies,

At morning in the dark I rise;  

And shivering in my nakedness,  

By the cold candle, bathe and dress.  


Close by the jolly fire I sit  

To warm my frozen bones a bit;

Or with a reindeer-sled, explore  

The colder countries round the door.  


When to go out, my nurse doth wrap  

Me in my comforter and cap;  

The cold wind burns my face, and blows

Its frosty pepper up my nose.  


Black are my steps on silver sod;  

Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;  

And tree and house, and hill and lake,  

Are frosted like a wedding-cake.


             ~ Robert Louis Stevenson


"Wet Snow, Auvergne" by Victor Charreton, circa 1899

“Wet Snow, Auvergne” by Victor Charreton, circa 1899


I go to the mountain side

of the house to cut saplings,

and clear a view to snow

on the mountain. But when I look up,

saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in

the uppermost branches.

I don’t cut that one.

I don’t cut the others either.

Suddenly, in every tree,

an unseen nest

where a mountain

would be.


~ Tess Gallagher


Kofler Jürgen

Kofler Jürgen

Winter Stars

I went out at night alone;

 The young blood flowing beyond the sea

Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings –

 I bore my sorrow heavily.


But when I lifted up my head

 From shadows shaken on the snow,

I saw Orion in the east

 Burn steadily as long ago.


From windows in my father’s house,

 Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,

I watched Orion as a girl

 Above another city’s lights.


Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,

 The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,

All things are changed, save in the east

 The faithful beauty of the stars.


                       ~ Sara Teasdale


"Snow Maiden" by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1899

“Snow Maiden” by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1899



I Am Waiting

I am waiting for the day

that maketh all things clear

and I am awaiting retribution

for what America did

to Tom Sawyer

and I am waiting

for Alice in Wonderland

to retransmit to me

her total dream of innocence

and I am waiting

for Childe Roland to come

to the final darkest tower

and I am waiting

for Aphrodite

to grow live arms

at a final disarmament conference

in a new rebirth of wonder


I am waiting

to get some intimations

of immortality

by recollecting my early childhood

and I am waiting

for the green mornings to come again

youth’s dumb green fields come back again

and I am waiting

for some strains of unpremeditated art

to shake my typewriter

and I am waiting to write

the great indelible poem

and I am waiting

for the last long careless rapture

and I am perpetually waiting

for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn

to catch each other up at last

and embrace

and I am awaiting

perpetually and forever

a renaissance of wonder


                     ~ From “I Am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


"Expectation" by Richard Eisermann, 1927

“Expectation” by Richard Eisermann, 1927

December Notes

The backyard is one white sheet

Where we read in the bird tracks


The songs we hear. Delicate

Sparrow, heavier cardinal,


Filigree threads of chickadee.

And wing patterns where one flew


Low, then up and away, gone

To the woods but calling out


Clearly its bright epigrams.

More snow promised for tonight.


The postal van is stalled

In the road again, the mail


Will be late and any good news

Will reach us by hand.


~ Nancy McCleery


"Letter Boxes of the Kerava Riding School in Finland" by Annelis

“Letter Boxes of the Kerava Riding School in Finland” by Annelis


Does the road wind up-hill all the way?

   Yes, to the very end.

Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?

   From morn to night, my friend.


But is there for the night a resting-place?

   A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.

May not the darkness hide it from my face?

   You cannot miss that inn.


Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?

   Those who have gone before.

Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?

   They will not keep you standing at that door.


Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?

   Of labour you shall find the sum.

Will there be beds for me and all who seek?

   Yea, beds for all who come.


                              ~ Christina Rossetti, born on this day in 1830


"Au Moulin de la Galette" by Ramon Casas i Carbó, 1892

“Au Moulin de la Galette” by Ramon Casas i Carbó, 1892

Fields of Learning

When we go out into the fields of learning

We go by a rough route

Marked by colossal statues, Frankenstein’s

Monsters, AMPAC and the 704,

AARDVARK, and deoxyribonucleic acid.

They guard the way.

Headless they nod, wink eyeless,

Thoughtless compute, not heartless,

For they figure us, they figure

Our next turning.

They are reading the books to be written.

As we start out

At first daylight into the fields, they are saying,

Starting out.


In every sage leaf is contained a toad

Infinitely small.




Algebra written across a blackboard hurts

As a tight shoe hurts; it can’t be walked in.

Music, a song score, hurts,

How far lies one note from another?

Graft hurts, its systems of exploitation

In cold continuance.

Argosies of design, fashions to which the keys

Rest restlessly in an Egyptian tomb.


In every sage leaf is contained a toad

Infinitely small.


                              From “Fields of Learning” by Josephine Miles


"The Night before the Exam" by Leonid Pasternak, 1895

“The Night before the Exam” by Leonid Pasternak, 1895

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