Beth Brooke, The Draw of Winter

The Draw of Winter

An October morning,
the mist above the river drifts into invisibility
and the fields begin to smell of sunrise,
damp, straw-scented, redolent of summer’s end.

I am heavy with the effort of harvest,
long to burrow myself away underground,
wrap myself in dark nights and starless skies
hide myself from the disturbance of the moon

which tugs at me, gently but insistent
that I must come out one winter evening
and admire its pale-faced reflection in the still water.

Winter Quarantine

I have taken to sleeping in the attic room.
Hidden under the eaves,
the right size to be comforting.
In the lethargy of a winter morning
with its slow summoning of light,
I wake and lie there.

I listen to the rasp of the magpie,
hear the jackdaws argue.
I think about the hedgehog
in its little nest, snug under leaves
and summer hay.

Later, I will visit its spot by the garden wall,
lift the roof of the hibernaculum, peer in.

I will watch it breathing,
the rise and fall of its prickled back;
it will not stir.

The End Of The Autumn Term Comes A Day Early

Snow fell as the sky turned from night to dove-wing grey.
No drive to work possible so we had a snow day.
peach-sweet dawn, thickening light, the water meadows,
transfigured by the stillness and silence of white
drew me out into a perfect emptiness.

I stopped at the gate to the field – no cattle,
no rooks flying — and the oak skeleton, sap dry,
boughs of deadwood, stood out against the morning sky.

I sent the photograph I took to you:
happy snow day.

Beth Brooke is a retired teacher. She was born in the Middle East but now lives in Dorset. She has had work published in a number of journals. In another life she wrote history and English textbooks for secondary schools.

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