Tag Archives: winter


Nothing ends here
in the rush of the bitter wind
over the snowdrifts.

I have forgotten
the last call of the birds
as they left.

The rocks are bare
and sleek with white ice.

I stare at the ring light of ice
around the sun every morning.

The stars at night are endless.

The letter to me
from the one before me
says the winter goes on forever
and that I must stay.

But I need only my breath
as it leaves my body.
I no longer need
the weight of the earth
to travel.

I will build a ship
from ice
and the black pebbles
along the frozen river.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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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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The Dirt End

It has come down to
the dirt end of winter:
one last lucky penny
lost in my coat lining.

I had saved it to pay
for small
and flightless hopes.

Copyright Kay Winter

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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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The Real Show

The Real Show

The curtains fell
on the last show of the year
with a soft thump of worn velvet
against old wood.

The feathers and glitter
fell from costumes discarded
among the shattered mirrors
and paint pots.

They danced naked
into the dark streets
trailing ribbons of magic.

Past dark doorways,
past dark windows,
to the edge of the city
where the last streetlight gave way
to the wild.

And in they danced
into the greenwood
below the black branches
below the blue-black sky.


Copyright Kay Winter

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Let me show you
how everything disappears
into the earth
except the stars of Orion
through the black branches.

Let me show you
how pale the morning light becomes
how slow and hesitant the dawn
how swift the sunset.

Let me show you
the last chrysanthemum
casting petals in the pure air.

Copyright Kay Winter

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There Is a Winter

In purple shadows
of February’s mild snow,
there is a winter I want forever.

The afternoon of this Sunday
is long with easy steps
in purple shadows.

My path circles
through the lavender light
of February’s mild snow.

In the crocus sky
at the edge of the distant treeline
there is a winter I want forever.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Winter Pocket

Here in the pocket
of what’s left of winter
the sky falls farther down
a little bit
every day
like the sag of
old coat linings
and the snow
in the cracked bird bath.

The weather is
slush in gutters
and dirty-piled snow.

The sun is
as dry as old lemons.

We dig for
the lost dimes
at the bottoms of our purses
and spend laundromat afternoons
waiting for wet wool
to dry.

The fluorescent light
on the night bus
casts green shadows
across our eyes.

There is
wet grit
on the back stairs.

We are dog-sick.

Lost in cough.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Crows Waiting for Winter

Three crows on the rim
the rim of the stone fountain
the fountain of waiting
waiting with us for winter
winter months like stone steps
steps of crows
crows black and patient.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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What No One Knows

What no one knows
is that on the coldest,
bonecracking days,
you can walk out
when the shadows
are indigo on the snow,
and put your back to the north wind,
and if you ask it,
that it will blow you across Superior,
over the pine forests,
over the Dakota hills,
and onto the prairies.

That it will whirl you about
on the fingertips
of the old gods.

Copyright Kay Winter

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