Sunday, 22 January 2017 14:45

December Poems 2016

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This winter I’m seeing the naked trees

And remembering I will be sixty

Years old in November but I’m lucky

Because I don’t feel my age and because


Of my exercise I’m as spry as a

Teenager but I have wrinkles about

My eyes and I have memories also

And as I’m driving and seeing the bare


Branches of the trees overhanging the

Street I remember the cathedrals in

England I saw when I was a student

And realize that the stone tracery


In those churches are meant to represent

The graceful lines of trees in the winter.


I’m sometimes

surprised by



and insight.




Nothing is like an onrushing cold for

Grabbing attention as I felt it in

My throat in my voice when I tried to speak

Especially in my nose which began


To run and mostly in my noggin which

Became seasick and then there were the times

When I rose from bed once the congestion

Had taken hold and my back and shoulders


Felt sore my head throbbed as I went to the

Rest room but there is a lighter side to

Getting sick as it took me out of my

Daily routine separating me from


The hamster wheel of doing the same things

Day after day exertion without thought.


Recovery’s not

quite like returning from a

vacation but it

is a rediscovery

of marvelous energy.



A word carries a meaning and a string

Of words make a sentence carrying a

More composed meaning making a point that

May be worth remembering and saying


Hippopotamus makes me wonder why

This pell-mell collection of syllables

Is stuck to that creature because the word

Hippopotamus can’t be said primly


Or lackadaisily without losing

Dignity and if you’re serious when

You say hippopotamus you have to

Use a neutral inflection and also


The cadence should be a bit quicker than

An ordinary word — so be careful.


Usually I

don’t have to enunciate


or also rhinoceros —

But when I do I’m ready.



A crystal glass is weighty in my hand

With the liquid light of the sun and I

Drink and enjoy the water flow in my

Mouth and throat and inside of me with the


Taste of no taste that tastes like nourishment

Like health without anything extra and

Drinking doesn’t have to be something I

Do without noticing just as I make


The slightest effort drawing air in my

Nose and appreciate its expansion

Within my lungs and I can sense a wave

Of clarity throughout my body as


The persisting rhythms of life are like

Wind in the leaves and the waves on the sand.


I know the words

needed to find

direction and

then I savor

needing no words.



I’m grateful for the asphalt because if

My driveway were gravel I’d be blowing

It away bit by bit and I’m happy

To have my sturdy snow blower because

No matter how prodigious the dump it

Plods along spewing the snow to the side

And I can swivel the direction of

The spray by turning a handle because

I don’t want to blow into a fierce wind

Because my face would get crusted with the

Snow and as long as the temperature

Stays well below freezing I’ll be OK


Because if the air is around freezing

The snow blower clogs and then I shovel.

It’s not much fun

thrusting away with

a loaded shovel

with snow sticking

to the metal.



When the wind blows through the bare branches of

The trees on a morning in December

When there’s a chill rising from the snow on

The ground when the sky’s predominately


Cloudy with scattered stretches of blue there’s

A bleakness about the moment as the

Trees epitomize the absence of the

Sun as in stark nakedness they’re swaying


In a fierce wind that’s not leavened with the

Soothing sound of the leaves and yet there’s a

Warmth in my heart and a kind of austere

Beauty about this day that reminds me the


Sun’s not really absent life endures and

I discover fortitude in winter.


Suddenly there’s a

Pileated woodpecker

on the cottonwood

Striking the tree with its beak —

its scarlet head is lovely.


Read 4297 times Last modified on Wednesday, 31 January 2018 13:00
Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.
More in this category: « A Tribute to Terry J. Kohler
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