Archives for posts with tag: winter

vika 200581
No assembly required
by Sue Mayfield Geiger

We were two young girls and best friends
who found delicious entertainment back in the 1950s.

Our small 2-bedroom, one bathroom tract houses
were identical, back-to-back.

We rose most summer mornings at the crack of dawn.
Not to play hide and seek, or dress-up.

Or go roller skating, bike riding or chalk out
Hopscotch on the sidewalk.

Or fish for crawdads in a rain-filled ditch
Or jump rope or go berry picking.

None of that.

We would hide in back of bushes and patiently
wait for the big trucks.

The ones loaded with refrigerators, washing machines;
any heavy appliance would do.

Eventually one would arrive.

The driver and his helper would unlatch their
load and pull apart the stiff cardboard encasings.

Then load the appliance on a dolly into
a nearby house.

Then we’d burst out of our hiding places
and grab the enormous flat pieces of cardboard

and take off

to our secret place several blocks away near the
railroad tracks.

Put our bodies on our new slick sleds
and race down the hill.

Over, over, and over, giggling all the way.
It was the best fun we ever had.

Best of all, we outsmarted the boys who slept late.
Leaving them the remnants that we left behind.

All ripped, torn, and useless.

PHOTO: Girl with cardboard sled by Vika200581.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In today’s modern society, most deliveries come from Amazon or arrive by an installer, especially for large items. I doubt that cardboard is still used to cover appliances since decades have passed and no doubt, they are wrapped in plastic and handled with the most of care. But for those of us of a certain age, we were always on the lookout for that large piece of cardboard that would feed our youthful imaginations. Aside for becoming a sled, it made a fine fort, a house, a cave, and a nifty place for a game of hide-and-go-seek.

PHOTO: The author (left) and her friend Sandy as children.

75th Sandy Susie

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Mayfield Geiger is a freelance magazine writer living on the Texas Gulf Coast. When not writing about home décor, fashion, or a new restaurant opening, she reads and writes poetry. Literary publications include: Grayson Books, RiverLit, Dos Gatos Press, The Binnacle (U of Maine), Of Burgers and Barrooms (Main Street Rag), Red Wolf Journal, Waco WordFest Anthology, Perfume River Poetry, THEMA, Silver Birch Press, Odes and Elegies: Eco poetry from the Gulf Coast, and others.

PHOTO: The author (right) and her friend Sandy at age 75.

Once on a Smoky Afternoon in Winter
by Amit Shankar Saha

That day
a sudden appearance
at a cafe.
I wished for it,
but when do wishes come true,
unless it’s you.

You spoke of how
you adopted the hills
from the seven sisters,
and how you tickled her
fountains into laughter.
And all the time
I watched the Americano
dip in your cup
while my honey ginger tea
kept losing its steam.
You said you like your coffee hot
and winter is your favorite season.

I once wrote about the hills
and the sense of freedom.
Do you remember?
Did I shuffle some memories?
You said the cafe owner knows
you are always in a hurry.
This new year you will be
once again in the hills.
The hills have been calling.
Before leaving you say,
I know you will write a poem
about this, and I say, but…
and you say, you don’t have to
follow everything I say.

So this is that poem
about the hills,
about making the streams
run down the slopes with joy,
about making the trees
cry out in happiness,
about making a cloud
revolve around a smoke.

Photo by Luca. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written during the start of winter in 2021, when I wished to meet a friend and she miraculously appeared at the café giving me a surprise. We were coming out of a pandemic and the lockdown situation as survivors. I was going through a lean period of poetic inspiration, and when we met she spoke of things she had never spoken of, especially about her daughter. That gave birth to this poem.

Saha copy1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amit Shankar Saha is the author of three collections of poems titled Balconies of Time, Fugitive Words, and Illicit Poems. His poems have appeared in The Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2020 and 2021, The Best Indian Poetry 2018 and Converse: Contemporary English Poetry by Indians. He has won numerous awards and is also a Pushcart Prize, Griffin Poetry Prize, and Best of Net nominee. He has a PhD in English from Calcutta University and teaches in the English Department at Seacom Skills University. He is the Editor-in-Chief of EKL Review. His website is 

longhorn cow
Longhorns and Snowdrops
by Jenny Bates

The soul is the same in all living creatures,
although the body of each is different. — Hippocrates

Snowdrops grow at the edge of a field next to Lancashire cows.
Horns descend from their faces, the curve drooping graceful as flower petals.
Weary host of tree branches wear ice, delicate as lacewings.
Fragile to breaking from a wren’s pish.
January ends, tells us to think again.
Resurrection never ends, even in an orgy of snow.
Now becomes meaningless mush,
afraid of nothing at all being familiar.
Falling on ice, mind eating worms wriggling through ears…
like a wild woodchuck trapped in a library,
I ruff up my fur —
rescue outraging me further.
What would happen if we realized black
wasn’t black at all, only dark green?
Iridescent as a Crow’s wing?
A ruthless thought that could change history
marches over ridges, across valleys, pressing close.
The wild, dark, beautiful, remote, secret words are
travel-thoughts by foot, because there are
no real roads.
How to heal the earth? I ask Hippocrates.
The cow munches near petaline
white spread.
Raises his head in hope.

PHOTO: Snorty by Jim Champion.

BATES1 copy

I have lived in the Piedmont Foothills for 26 of my 39 years as a resident of North Carolina. I am locally known in Stokes County as an animal whisperer, especially to donkeys, coyotes and “Crow Folk.” My experience is full of friendships I would never have thought possible. Adjacent to Hanging Rock State Park, I myself have blurred the lines between what is tame and what is not. My surroundings for the most part are still and peaceful and timeless. The woods go on and on forever, you think, and there’s nobody in them but you. My poetry reflects all of this unique relationship I have to the area of land and the company of animals I keep. My poetry yearns and transfigures itself, like nature.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenny Bates is a member of Winston-Salem Writers. NC Poetry Society, and NC Writers Network. Her published books include Opening Doors: an equilog of poetry about Donkeys (Lulu Publishing, NC,  2010), Coyote with Coffee (Catbird on the Yadkin Press, NC 2014), Visitations (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2019), and Slip, her new collection (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2020).

Sledding the Valley of the Shadow
by Laura Foley

We’re burning the Earth. We’re burning the sky.
                         —Deena Metzger

           I know the burning’s true,
so I won’t be throwing snowballs
in the halls of Congress.

           After today’s snowfall, I grab jacket, hat, mittens,
tear down the steep drive on my orange sled,
beaming a path through the night with a light

           I hold between my knees
under the spread of winter constellations,
as dogs lope alongside.

                          In this northern woods valley,
we’re more likely to hear geese
than airplanes overhead.

                          I sled and snowshoe through cold winter days,
I know will last through my lifetime,
but still act for the generations after, including my own family.

                          I compost, recycle, keep bees,
have forgone meat for thirty years, and wonder how else to please,
whether being the change I’d like to see

                          will be enough to ease the anxiety
spreading like wildfire from teen to teen, every Greta or Deena grieving
the oblivion yet to come.

PHOTO: After sledding by Severin Demchuk on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I enjoy living in rural Vermont, where we have long, snowy winters, and a steep, winding driveway for sledding in fresh snow; but I fear for future generations. I will continue to do my part to address climate change—solar panels for heating; composting food waste; growing vegetables; not eating red meat; recycling. I hope these ideas spread around the globe, soon.

laura portraitMaine

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Foley is the author of seven poetry collections. Why I Never Finished My Dissertation received a starred Kirkus Review and an Eric Hoffer Award. Her collection It’s This is forthcoming from Salmon Press. Her poems have won numerous awards and national recognition—read frequently by Garrison Keillor on The Writers Almanac; appearing in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Laura lives with her wife, Clara Gimenez, among the hills of Vermont. Visit her at

Knit Cap
by Thomas Park

Big Sleep
Dry light

Through dirty window panes

One long Winter, no
Central heat

My apartment, South Side Saint Louis,
Small already

Reduced in essence to one bed, where
Under the covers I lay

18 hours night
And day

Covered in Winter coat,
Knit cap
To keep the heat in

So cold, Somehow the faucet
Dripped still

The slow percolation of warmth
As it approached
But never turned
To ice

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Out and about in the South Side with the very knit cap, which I’ve had for about 12 years.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was created by trying to remember as exactly as possible the experience of lying in bed for the bigger part of one winter, when I was poor and depressed. I recall wearing a black knit cap most of the time (even in bed) as my apartment had very little heat.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas Park has lived in Saint Louis, Missouri, for most of his life, and in the South Side for several years. Before he met his wife, he lived alone and in poverty. Those years have been the grist for much poetry and other art. Thomas is much happier and better off now, but he remembers how things were.

Self-portrait by the author. 

FEBRUARY (Excerpt from “The Months”)
by Linda Pastan

After endless
on the windowsill,
the orchid blooms—
embroidered purple stitches
up and down
a slender stem.
Outside, snow
melts midair
to rain.
Abbreviated month.
Every kind of weather.
Read “The Months” in its entirety at Originally published in Poetry (October 1999).

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 Robert Frost 

How countlessly they congregate

O’er our tumultuous snow,

Which flows in shapes as tall as trees

When wintry winds do blow!–

As if with keenness for our fate,

Our faltering few steps on

To white rest, and a place of rest

Invisible at dawn,–

And yet with neither love nor hate,

Those stars like some snow-white

Minerva’s snow-white marble eyes

Without the gift of sight.

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 Grace O’Malley

He stands in my doorway
like a cross.
The hunter has come down.
He walks me under street lights
which are more sullen and yellower
than the full moon — its cool
blind eye of bone
and fracture high high above.
His bronze face pure
with starlight or anger
or perhaps love.
“The world
will never be your idea of just
or merciful.”
It all seems one
and I feel it
like an arrow’s blade
at the division between
bone and muscle,
soul and spirit,
like hunger
but more like the craving
after beauty
that is only for brief
moments satisfied.
as a bowstring, the
artistry of one straight line,
he walks away
and under the moonlight
is one motion,
flowing up like a spring
from the tendon of the heel.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poem owes a debt to poet Mary Oliver, who wrote a poem about the constellation Orion coming down out of the sky to talk to her…in my poem the figure of Orion is God. This piece is about me growing up — the necessity of facing the fact that the world is full of evil and injustice, while still holding onto my identity as a person with a moral compass, a person who can relate to God in the midst of an unjust world. It is about the balance in life between knowing that “things just aren’t fair” and living as an individual with integrity anyway. To be a whole person, I think one has to come to terms with these two sides of life. It is also inspired by my habit of long late night walks, sometimes talking to God about the troubles of the world, and sometimes just being with him.

PAINTING: “Orion the Hunter” by Timothy Benz, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at