Winter by Caroline Carver


Artwork: Karen Dennison

Fire road cutting

People say   it’s too cold to snow
but when I set off at midday    snow was falling

I waited for you so long   my love   but you did not come

Dark came early
creeping through trees like a visitation of black-cloaked women
so I bivouac’d beside the cut
digging a hollow lining it with branches    as you’ve taught me
I know you’d be proud at the way I’ve set my fire
See how it leaps and claps its hands!
See how carefully I’ve placed it away from overladen branches

Now I’m your frugal housewife again
heating snow to make a pot of tea

Northern Lights came early tonight
hesitant at first  tiptoeing onto the skyline
soon they’ll be confident enough to dance for both of us
everything will shine green and red and mauve
add diamonds to my cheeks

You haven’t asked how I am     Cold is the answer
it sinks into my bones    until even marrow congeals
I’ll keep the fire burning tonight
and I won’t falter         I know I’m not alone
elk and wolves surround me     and I found
blood on the snow   signs of a scuffle
prints of frightened snowshoe rabbits

How quiet it is!     Nothing between us and the North Pole
except the silent boreal forest
with its guardian angels in coronets of green . . .

I’ve waited for you so long   my love   but you have not come

First published in Poetry Salzburg

3 thoughts on “Winter by Caroline Carver”

  1. Wow! what an amazing poem – I love how the fire ‘leaps and claps its hands’ – there is such longing in this poem. And the artwork complements it perfectly. Great read – thank you all.

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