The Off Season

Frozen autumn leaves

Frost the path before me;

Hoar hovers over

Naked trees;

/

In wan wintry skies

Briefly rests the night

Before once again

Filling the eyes to the brim;

/

And the snow won’t fall,

And the sun won’t rise –

Naught would light the true face

Of this moment in time

/

When the past is gone,

While the future fears

To step on the same path

As I

Ancient Winter

When the last ice

Of this old winter,

Which seemed to know the secret

Of eternal life,

Melts carefully away,

I will wake up

From sleep

/

And when the sun, forgetful,

Warms again towards

The grey, exhausted Earth,

When rains of spring

Have washed it clean of sorrow,

I will remember

My face

/

When nights fill slowly

With songs of love and heartbreak,

And days become

But impatient rehearsals

For warm evenings,

I will recall

My age

/

When trees, like ocean tides,

With life and power swell,

When eyes begin to hurt from all

The beauty before them,

I’ll look at my white hands,

My hair, like frozen waves,

And call myself at last

/

By my forgotten name;

I’ll tell myself:

‘Go back to sleep,

Oh ancient,

Ancient Winter’

Beautiful Winter

My heart is overflowing

With warmth;

The rest of me is turning

To ice

/

I walked into the ocean

Of snow

Which in bright moonlight glowed

Like a smile

/

A blizzard danced with me and laughed

Like a friend

And icy lakes embraced me kindly

Until

/

It was naught but their cold

I could feel

While my heart was over flowing

With warmth

/

I have loved my endless winter

To death;

I would keep on but my heart’s

Getting cold

The Fifth Season

You asked for summer –

And it’s at your threshold,

In robes of burning leaves

Of dry, exhausted soil

/

Afraid of heat and draught,

You begged for autumn

And, crying rains, it came

To wail outside your door

/

Scared of its open wounds,

You called for winter

Who, like a blizzard, swift

All ice, distress and cold,

/

Appeared, but it was spring

You thought you wanted:

Capricious, lukewarm, shy

It came, but you recoiled

/

You locked your home,

Inventing a fifth season,

Which looked like summer,

Smelled like autumn herbs,

/

Which had the grace

And fierceness of a winter

And laughed, like spring,

At your uncanny jokes