measuring shadows here,
Deep and stark
Where the hills are dark
With evergreen haunts for the hungry deer,
So that strangers understand
Winter's claim upon the land.
In the path of the Boreal sign —
Cross and sword
Keeping watch and ward —
All the hastening clouds align
Like harried sheep that crowd as one
Grey ring around the brazen sun.
Miles of timberland stretch away,
Thick with spires
For a million fires.
There, the cardinal and the jay
Vaunt their colors, clear and warm,
Undiminished by the storm.
Hearths are holiest to the strong
Who find here
Neither death nor fear,
Only visions that leap along
The heartwood, sending sparks that fly
To mix our ashes with the sky.
If the dome of the air is vast,
High, and old,
And supremely cold,
We have intimacy at last
With stars no stranger to the soul
Than speckles on an old tin bowl.
Foes who venture within the pale
Turn and race,
For the wolves give chase,
And the fury of scythe and flail
That bent the harvest to our good
Is still more useful in the wood.
Where the cedars enclose the glade,
On the virgin snow
Kindles hearts that recall the Maid
At Paris, as the red star aims
One arrow, and goes down in flames.
And the end of the chase is harsh,
As they drink
Of the dark, and sink
Down, to lie in the wet cold marsh,
Where summer finds blue flags in bloom,
Undiminished by the gloom.
© 2008 by Ellin
Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be copied or used in any way
without written permission from the author.