Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Thaw

I posted this poem last year, but I'm posting it again, because it still speaks to me during this slow onslaught of spring.

The Thaw

It is not in the bleak midwinter
That I feel the cold
For when the darkness of the dimmest days swaddles me
I sleep.

The indirect angles of the sun’s rays
Soften the sharpness
Of each bare branch and brittle bough
And lull me
Into slumber.

It is not the dry, soft secretness of the snow
That breaks me
For it cushions all my senses
And sweeps me
Into numbness.

But the dreadful dripping of the icicles,
The slow softening
Of the once firm and frosty ground
Shakes me from slumber
And I awake.

It is the unraveling of so many layers,
The near-warmness,
The threatening thaw of winter’s end,
That finally chills me
Into a deep shiver.

The shards of sharp sunlight
Glare on the gray spots,
Expose the cracked skin, the crumbling ground,
The dead things long denied,
And I see.

It is when all is laid bare and brown,
That I am exposed,
Facing the unfrozen, the long untended,
I shudder unguarded
Against the certainty of spring.


  1. Did you write this? It is so beautiful I am in awe. Thank you for commenting on my blog, you helped a lot.

  2. I did write it. Thanks for the positive feedback, Annie!

  3. Beautiful. Our Texas springs do not come on like this, but I remember these sights from my northern years. You capture it so well, and I like the unexpected sense of foreboding about spring.

  4. I'm glad you like the poem, James. And thanks for stopping by my blog! The sense of foreboding about spring is tied in with bouts of depression I have experienced...

  5. Remarkable. Living in Minnesota, I could feel every sensation of which you wrote. Almost-spring and almost-winter are often so brown here.
    You might enjoy Chris Heeter's new book: Wild Thoughts...I've got link on my blog. Oh, and I love the name Seamus...we homestayed a fantastic boy from Derry named Seamus. I told him once how I'd always wanted 4 children. And he looked at me puzzled and said in his inimitable brogue: "You have four children. Your 3 and 1 Irish son."
    I sure miss him!

  6. Kathleen,
    Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad this poem spoke to you. Seamus is indeed a good name! I'm glad you have a Seamus in your life, too. Thanks, too, for the Chris Heeter recommendation. I'm definitely going to get his latest.