Winter, Ripening

Consider the riverbank

under this muffled sky. It is not so cold

as you imagine. The songs the birds don't sing

are not inconsolable.

If the blue heron strives into flight,

your body scarved and coated

will feel what's winged inside you struggle,

as though some former urgency

is all that fastens you to earth.

Perhaps pelicans still winter on the island -

the frost-white blooms of their bodies

bunched along that far shore

where water pools, plum-silver,

separate from the slate of the river's surface

that seems firm enough to stand upon.

The light will be ashen and shadowless,

trees hung with silence.

If you do not know how

to hear the whole tone

of stillness, stand and wait....

Against all knowing

it will chime through you

from the inside out.

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