Each January for the last several years, I have participated in one way or another with the Small Stones/River of Stones challenge. This year I have been struggling with inspiration as it always seems like the cold and the snow are uppermost in my mind as January begins, and as winter takes its firm hold. I was an April baby, and perhaps that is why over the years I have found the darker months of the year difficult. They’ve become a time of hibernation and a depressing season, as it is for many of us. This is perhaps why I have held off posting this year’s Small Stones.
As the days start lengthening though, I find myself striving to find other words to move away from the dead of winter. With mixed results. These are, as always, spontaneous writing, and so very much first drafts, potential discards or lines for mining later and carving into something else when the time comes. Here are the Stones for January 1st to 7th.
Small Stone for January 1, 2016
In the air, strains of Auld Lang Syne.
As images of foreign shores fill the screen
with wishes for the year, a bittersweet
memory of someone no longer here
to share the new lingers still.
Among bygones and shadows,
filtered images of yesterday
blur sepia. Another leaf
drops from the tree, buried
in the snowy pages of fallen years,
the new calendar yet blank of story.
Jan 2 2016
Last week the grass still spoke in summer dialect
today the world breathes cold and colder still
Neighbours call thanks over the road
for help with the daily task of digging out from
under winter’s weighted white
Jan. 3 2016
Sky and snow blur to one,
the sun hibernating this noon.
Over the river the greyness darkens
to promises of fresh white
and cotton wool dreams
Jan. 4 2016
Out from the shadows of the old year,
brilliance of a January day pretends
a warmth it doesn’t own, only the promises
we grasp as if it were the gold ring
we’ve searched for,
always another distance.
Rivers to cross,
crosses to carry,
hopes still wished for but
just a hairsbreadth more.
Jan. 5 2016
A weight descends out of darkness
muffling the music and I’ve stopped dancing,
stopped singing too, my voice
a silent croak as notes, no longer in my throat,
rise silently out of hearing.
It is not comfortable here.
Somewhere, as the year approached its close
inner strength died too, beneath the long dark hours.
I waver here between the pain of moving forward
and the pain of staying still.
Jan. 6 2016
Heard screams are terrifying, but those unheard
are more terrifying still
– from Odysseus Blinds Polyphemus, The Polyphemus Painter,
Dual Impressions, John Brantingham & Jeffrey Graessley
Unmoving here the silence deafens as only silence can,
yet inside my head, the sound of a voice,
terrifying in its screams.
Perhaps a child born of spring wilts too
as winds turn bitter when the sun turns its colder face
and the sky bleeds white.
Jan. 7 2016
“The moth’s single thought is light”
– from Notes for a Small Pocket/Call and Response Lorna Crozier
Suppose the world was only about light—
Light as religion, light equals life,
Light running through each artery, every vein.
What, then, of winter, of the dark time, the night?
Would there be a small death each night, not sleep,
but death, and rebirth with the coming of each day?
With each turn of the Earth upon its axis,
each black face of Earth
held away from the Sun, every evening
a new and quiet grieving.