Sunday, April 10, 2011


This poem was written in Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton, on December 20, 2010 -- the night of the winter solstice and a full lunar eclipse.

Winter had urgent business elsewhere.
She stopped by to leave a note:
"I'll be back late this year:
don't wait up for me."
Her note lies melting in raggedy patches
of late December snow that pepper the ground.
Confident, we wait for her to return
and give us her full, devoted attention.
She never fails to come home to us --
although, last winter, she forgot
to freeze the Gulf of St. Lawrence
for the first time in fifty years.
Perhaps her memory isn't what it used to be.
Like a dancer, the mountain behind us flashes her eyes
through a veil of fog hiding her face.
First one eagle, then two, swimming above in a lazy circle.
Tonight, the longest night, the full moon will rise,
then dissolve in our shadow, and emerge again.
Stiff spruce trees, unruffled in the breeze,
flex their branches upwards, anticipating
the burden of snow they will be asked to bear
when winter returns as promised.

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