Winter's Hard

Bundle up, son.  In winters hard,

You can’t let the wind blow the warmth from your heart

A storm—this is not a storm; this descends

From heaven, it seems, and without end.


I touch for awhile that shaking limb

Too soft on the end; in the middle—too slim

My eyes not on yours, but the limbs that extend

To heaven, it seems, or without end.


Your work for awhile with stronger wood

To fell with an axe.  So you stand.  So it stood.

For what? and for why? Well, that depends

If it’s fire we need; in fire it ends.


Or look to the steps that lead to sleep

A mountain for me, for a boy but a leap

Before you were born, they’d started to bend

And soon they will break, so sooner we’ll mend.


And under the door comes rushing air

In summer a breeze; now a threat; so repair.

But none of these things overwhelm.  I contend:

Don’t worry if it breaks.  It all gets mended in the end.


Now look through the glass to Norman’s Hill

Though barren of fruit, a promise was made that this cold cannot kill

That one of these days, should God allow,

What’s there in the earth will blossom somehow.


This orchard, your mind, they need the freeze

To come to the spring with a strength and an ease.

What quickens my heart and waters my eyes is

Too soon will come life if the temperature rises


Goodbye and keep cold, I know what I said

Don’t mean to confuse, or to fill up your head

With too much supposed wisdom—only words

Distracting myself from something that hurts


So bundle up son, your heart, your mind

Be naked above, grab the wind from behind

Our life is on earth, to that we attend

But heaven, I hear, is without end

A storm this is not.  This is how we ascend.

And heaven, I hear, is without end.