by John Hildebidle
our best hope
the air may just warm
above the freezing point,”
how truly grim the season,
how far we’ve sunk below
into true heart-chill,
at the soul’s
Two guys in tee-shirts, ignoring
the hard chill, pick-and-shovel boys
mining not ore, not salt, not coal,
but cindered dirty persistent snow-freeze,
the last—or so you could dream—of
Then came the evening news:
“Winter Storm Warning overnight.”
Such a durable cold—if it were
steaming, unendurable August
we’d be thinking of languor and cold showers.
Why can’t we recover that discomfort now,
to relieve its furious opposite.
Imagination’s, sadly, not up to the work.
Still, you learn to treasure small things—
occasional nondescript birds, puffed in bushes,
stark branch geometries, white’s variety,
the delight of absence-of-breeze,
sunshine in high cloudless blue sky.
But will even that energy flag,
and only napping
beneath an extravagance of blankets
serve the moment fully?
and foul mood,
cold, dark, bitter,
endless. Thaw lies
so far distant,
dream, testing all
Wind, at other times
“fresh,” is now a curse.
The path’s treacherous.
Word is it’s the near
edge of warming air.
Warming but far from warm, and that’s that.
nearly St. Patrick’s Day.
We have a right to demand some
with a wind to boot—
despair’s almost warming,
after its fashion. Reports
say near fifty by the weekend.
Can we truly risk believing them?
Witch-hazel madness bursts on corner lots,
the full sun's almost bask-mellow,
the breeze carries no anguish,
cardinals, mourning doves, geese,
fill the early air,
with bright promise.
yes, we’ve earned,
Gone—utterly and entirely, that sad reminder,
the snowpile the driveway plow had built. Melted,
and evaporated besides—not even a wet
Now, with the mockingbirds in full song,
I could almost believe that it is in fact (and long,
too long overdue) spring. If I’m deluded,
whatever you do, don’t wise me up.
Hail? Damnation. What’s
that white? Not snow, surely—
many buds and blooms
As if it mattered.
The Turning Point?
growth shrinks beneath,
the river’s current
unforgiving, the trees
absolute throwbacks into
so many long winter months:
but somehow, afternoon,
the air relents, sky
breaks free, before
long it’s pure
pray it’s not interlude,
but premonition, lasting.)
Speak firmly, with assurance:
“Jonquil, daffodil, lilac, crocus,
forsythia, witch hazel, snowdrop,
hyacinth, magnolia, hawthorne, flowering cherry,
helibore; redwing, mocker, cardinal,
finch, jay starling, migrant goose.”
Repeat as needed. (Obsessively).
Copyright © 2004 by John Hildebidle.