Festive Greetings



If Winter Comes


'In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.'  Albert Camus



April is the cruellest month, the poet says.

Green shoots and blossoms make

a mockery of winter's torpid isolation -

the sky's sheen like old ceramic

crazed with sapless boughs -

the ponds stagnant with rotting vegetation

and hedgerows once decked with flowers

and spangled fruit become

naked tangled thorns,

defensive as razor-wire.


Summer's dream is banished

by the first frost, sharp as ammonia,

its sense, its scent, its sentience

suppressed in resting earth.

We close our doors and light our fires,

don weatherproofs and scarves and rugged footwear

against gale and snow and pelting rain.

Hibernation seeps into the marrow,

blunting the senses to loss of balm

and cordial breezes, chromatic tones that

electrify the filaments of nerve and fibre

and promise Paradise.

Benumbed, our grief is tamed. We shut out

the nocturne of the winter solstice and

devise our own illumination, scorning

the antipodean canicule.

We make merry with old songs,

embellishing the murk with gold and glitter,

and heart-reviving greens and reds

reminiscent of crataegus, said to heal

that restive organ of its strains and pains.


What we need is a Death to conquer death,

a Life whose Grace and Incorruptibility

can harness all the vital forces of Creation

to taste the Lethe and live to bridge its banks

Eternally.

What majesty on earth can that accomplish?

What man-at-arms? What president? What ruler?

Brute myth where human and divine converge!


But hush! A rumour whispers through the darkness

and there are angels carolling a new theme

when the wavelength is attuned.

A blinding star fixes the conjunction

of heaven and earth and turns

Time back to front.

No clockwork mechanism now.

A baby in a makeshift cradle

(or is it an unconstraining grave?)

heralds a renascence that

stirs the ailing cosmos,

pulls sap towards the ether

and consigns the cruellest month

to history's past imperfect.


Wishing you a Joyful and Peaceful holiday season...and health and happiness in 2015!