Longlisted Poem 2013

Michael Brown

George Watson’s College, Edinburgh

Dead of Winter

Season of steely air and staring dark,
Lone cardinal, of legions high aloof;
Gesturing your designs so they may now
Leap forth over rock and road and roof.
To etch into the paths, to seal each blade
Of grass with a fine coat of silver light;
To sequin the window’s edge, and strew
Over far hills recesses of settled white.
And last to sleek the tumultuous earth,
So strewn by Autumn leaves, with silent mirth.
You finish the outline, then pause for the view.

Who has not seen you wandering the nights?
Scarfed, hands in pockets, you gaze, fixedly,
Up in wonder at the warm orange lights,
Or lying on your front, tentatively,
Under a bushes shadow, fixing snapped twigs.
And all the while tiny creatures hop
On branches you wrought like twisted iron
And firs bearing snow-baptized leaves on top.
Statues watch your every, pondering pace
And sitting hunched atop a wall, blank faced,
You watch time crystallise, frozen mid-air.

Where is summer’s craft, those shimmers of hues?
Rejoice, for now awakes a finer art
Of spires, clarity and brightening blues
By fleeting glimmers made to sparkle at heart.
Then a trembling wash of sound cascades.
Up like seeping spills of curdling green,
While flushed with haste, martins weave their clamour
About the homes and sinking fields, now lean.
Shaking trees nod and sweep their clenched fist hands
To gabbles and feuds in the clearing lands;
One leaf shines, silver, flapping, forgotten.

In reply to John Keats Ode ‘To Autumn’
© Michael Brown

Project Details

  • Date January 31, 2015
  • Tags 2013 The Details - Longlisted Poems