The last of long nights turned Hearing a distant song Above the cold. The ice unlocked the pond As if a talon freed its prey Against the stone-gray sky. Young fingers probe with pastel promises Through mist that lingers In the fold of trees. Not yet, but soon, the oriole's salute The redwing in the willow, rare but on cue; The hillside pines emit wild fragrances Defeating winter's edge And shifts the clock to new-found innocence. In tightbound sleep a bud is born, While no one hears its laughter Which travels incognito on bare trees, The wind is from the west. And breaking every seal, the season stores The yearly moments, and comes full circle To its door.