Tag Archives: loss

The Winter Woods: A Sestina

From my late afternoon window, I see the woods
in black, ragged lines in winter.
The trees of bare branches mourn the loss
of leaves. Deep within the woods is an encircling mist
Where the soft earth, softer for the leaves, awaits the rain
and the season of austerity and peace

And I too, seek the austerity of winter peace.
In the late afternoon, I long for the woods.
I wait for the passing of the cold and relentless rain
to walk out the small door into winter
into the curtain of the clearing’s remembering mist
The leaf-covered path sings a song of loss

The song of summer’s broken promise, a song of loss
But in my walking the dark shouldered trees offer peace
and quiet solace in the chill and veiling mist
My breath in quiet cloud breathes with the breath of the woods.
Each step forgives the loss, forgives the winter.
In the clearing, breathing within the mist, I await the return of the rain

The passing of the high clouds, gray and filled with rain
ease the well within me that murmurs of loss.
The brown leaves do not mourn the vanishing sun of winter
They fall as they must, in forgiveness and peace.
The afternoon falls into the swift dusk of the woods.
The first drops of rain fall against hands, fall through mist.

Memory lives in mist.
Mist, snow, sun, starlight, moonlight,clouds, rain
Bring lights of their own beauty into the woods
Remembered joy, endured pain, and mourned loss.
In memory offered as prayer, my spirit finds peace
like the wild, bare, and mysterious winter.

By my walking I move through winter,
Walking the earth’s soft floor, along paths of mist.
I leave wait in the woods for the fall of light to find peace
Though the swiftly moving clouds bring rain
I leave behind for that hour, the day’s demands, and honor loss
and the healing paths of winter woods.

The woods wait through winter’s loss
though mist and rain, to offer peace.

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Same Language

We spoke the same language
with different words
Always the feeling of light shining through.
Words like dust motes on Sunday afternoon.
A cloud of words
waiting for
the gush and scent of rain.

Always the feeling of light shining through.

The soft sounds of his jackets in the entryway
soft as snowfall
A door opening softly inward late at night
the streetlight shining through the dark window
lingering into the gray mornings
those long winters.

The snow covering our words.

Still, always the sense of light shining through.
The headlights through the snowfall
driving home.

We spoke the same language with different words.

The smell of coffee burning,
a dog barking a yard away,
a door being shut outward too quickly,
the goodbye on the other side.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Bury His Heart

Bury his blue heart
in the soft earth
below the hydrangeas
of his grandmother’s garden.

Bury his white heart
in snowfields, white snow sky,
and blizzards blowing down.

Bury his gold heart
in shimmer light
of the birch trees along
the shortcut
we took every day that Fall.

Bury his green heart
in the fresh alfalfa
and August corn,
wet with morning,
sharp-edged and lush.

Bury his brown heart
in the fallow fields of November
spare and patient
as he was.

Bury his silver heart
in the summer stars.

But bury his red heart
with us.

Copyright Kay Winter

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My Diary, My List

My diary, my list
of what I never knew.

Of what plucked lyre
called you.

Of what fluttering image
beckoned from
the looking glass.

Of why the pockets
of your mornings
were never full enough
to keep you.

Of where you might be
(not being here).

I wandered
without you
below canopies of gray and pearl
scudding skies,
lark-sung grasslands,
as flat as the old
imagined earth,
looking for the edge
you had fallen off of.

Returning always alone,
to the house we had shared,
standing at the back window,
waiting for the lilac to bloom
against the weathered fence,
feeling the empty space
that was the hollow of my palm.

Each morning,
I’d wander from the wisp of dream,
tuck my heart back under the pillow,
and cross the bridge of the day.

I’d spend the twilight
writing the words down,
of how I was
looking for you
in rooms that were
the shape of your absence.

Copyright Kay Winter

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The blood of the
chambers of my heart
left first,
through my veins.

Emptiness followed after sensation
into my fingertips:

the last ten things
I felt
for having touched
your cold silk skin.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Ashes too long held perhaps disappear
like subtle movement of dew to air or
stone grains beneath the rain’s dislike.
Mortar cracks in the wall
around the last empty place you saw me.

– Kay Winter

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In My Absence

If you expect to find me
rounding the same corner I do every day,
you will walk past the faded lilac bush there,
and not see me.

Neither will I be on the bench,
waiting for the train,

“My heart awaits you: you can turn it into life and hope with just a glance.” Tatyana’s letter to Onegin, Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin

If you wait for me
at the market next Thursday,
near the apple stand,
you will wait for me until dusk falls
into darkness,
and still I will not come.

Neither will I be at home,
at the window overlooking the garden,
looking for rain.

“I am half agony, half hope.”
Captain Wentworth’s letter to
Anne Elliott, Persuasion, Jane Austen

If you walk on Sunday,
along the river,
you could walk the length of two cities,
and not cross my path.

Neither would I be
on the stone bridge,
tossing leaves from the arches.

“I call God to witness, if Augustus, ruling over the whole world, were to deem me worthy of the honour of marriage, and to confirm the whole world to me, to be ruled by me forever, dearer to me and of greater dignity would it seem to be called thy strumpet than his empress.” Heloise’s letter to Abelard

No, you will have to find the place I once was,
and am no more, and seek from there.

Watch for the faintly joined grasses
where I have but recently passed.

Trust your sense, when walking into a strange room,
that it was I who left the door ajar.

Close your eyes against the sun
and wait for my shadow to pass by.

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I still can’t talk about them,
the years I was your ghost.

But that was me, haunting you,
across those long white fields.
Stumbling those white paths
and down
across the dark-flowing river
below the winterlands above.

You had your noble fight.
Your fall.
I had empty hands
and no path home.

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OctPoWriMo Poem 31 – Edge

I loved a man who threw himself off a mountain
He took a lifetime to find the right place
Reading the gestures of the wind in the grasses
And the subtle shapes of bare stones
And aspen tremble
One day, he turned his head,
And there it was
The joyous edge
He emptied into it

And never landed

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OctPoWriMo Poem 30 – Illusion

Of everything I lost
I miss the illusion in your voice the least
Your comfort in dead certainty
Your beeswax truths
Your rows of murmuring grandmothers
Your priests hovering in the sanctuary
Over your body
A cluster of black robes
And pale fluttering hands.

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