Archives for category: winter

Sunset over Tempe Buttes
by Andrea Janelle Dickens

the mystery fireballs pull
back, fail to travel –
splish, splash and dash
on rivers run dry.
under the curtain of red
embers, new fractures
lurk and die in the wake
of ground found troubled,
under the hood of creating
masks extending watchful
as one more midweek
victim slips away.
where are the coyotes that devote
watchful eyes to the movement of
the guilty in a ground rocked with heat?

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The first draft of this poem was created during National Poetry Month, April 2014, as part of the Oulipost project organized by the Found Poetry Review. Oulipo poetry is where mathematics and chance generation meet art. During that month, participating poets were given a number of mathematical or random word-generating prompts based on local newspaper articles. Each of these poems originated in the development of chance using words found in the source texts and then slightly edited into their final form. One of the interesting effects of this project, for me, was the injection of the local and the political into my writing, as well as a tone of judgment or anger. This last in particular fascinated me, since I’d always naively assumed news was at least somewhat impartial, until I began working closely with the language of my local newspapers.

SOURCE: “Sunset over Tempe Buttes”: From various headlines of the Arizona Republic, 9 April, 2014. Print.

IMAGE: “The View” (Sunset, Hayden Mountain, Tempe, Arizona) by Gerry Groeber. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrea Janelle Dickens lives in the Sonoran Desert, among the year-round sunshine and saguaro cacti. Her work has appeared in Star 82, cakestreet, Rivet, Ruminate, Caesura, and The Wayfarer, among others. She teaches at Arizona State University, and when she’s not teaching, she’s backpacking in foreign cities, making pottery in her ceramics studio, or tending hives of bees.

By Nancy McCleery

The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks
The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,
Filigree threads of chickadee.
And wing patterns where one flew
Low, then up and away, gone
To the woods but calling out
Clearly its bright epigrams.
More snow promised for tonight.
The postal van is stalled
In the road again, the mail
Will be late and any good news
Will reach us by hand.
“December Notes” appears in Nancy McCleery‘s collection  Girl Talk (The Backwaters Press, 2002).

Photo: “Bird tracks in the snow” by Willie, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by Henry Carlile

Not to conform to any other color
is the secret of being colorful.
He shocks us when he flies
like a red verb over the snow.
He sifts through the blue evenings
to his roost.
He is turning purple.
Soon he’ll be black.
In the bar’s dark I think of him.
There are no cardinals here.
Only a woman in a red dress.
“The Cardinal” appears in Henry Carlile’s collection Running Lights by Henry Carlile (Dragon Gate, 1981).

Photo: Wendy Kavener, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This photo was a winner in the 2004 National Wildlife Photo Contest.

by William Carlos Williams

Long yellow rushes bending
above the white snow patches;
purple and gold ribbon
of the distant wood:
what an angle
you make with each other as
you lie there in contemplation.
Read “January Morning” by William Carlos Williams in its entirety at

by Matsuo Basho

Year’s end,
all corners
of this floating world, swept.

by Cindy Lynn 

I giggle and fall 
In the drift of crystal white 
Snow Angel appears 

by Annie Finch

Vines, leaves, roots of darkness, growing,
now you are uncurled and cover our eyes
with the edge of winter sky
leaning over us in icy stars.
Vines, leaves, roots of darkness, growing,
come with your seasons, your fullness, your end.

“Winter Solstice Chant” appears in Annie Finch’s collection Calendars (Tupelo Press, 2013), available at

Photo: “Frosty Winter Landscape…” by Matthew Gibson. Prints available at

by Timothy Steele

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the rope of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUV’s.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow , blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

“Toward the Winter Solstice” by Timothy Steele, from Toward the Winter Solstice © Swallow Press, 2005, available at

Photo: Jenny Spadafora, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Photo: Leslie Main Johnson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”  

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN, A Game of Thrones

Photo: Jamie Hooper, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED