Only Winter Really Knows

That last leaf, on that dry branch
scratching at grey skies and digging for rain,
digging in my heart for seeds of grief
buried so deep.

What is it about the last one?
Leaf, apple, pine cone?
Winds rake and tug, greedily scooping prizes
sweet, tart, bristley, floatey…

but there always are those hangers on tenacious,
and never saying die…
or is it that they cannot do it? Say die?
or even “dead”.

Is it that they refuse
to let go? Or is it
that they cannot?
Let go?

And here is the killer:  some people think they are resilient
and full of perseverance and persistence,
and some people think they are noble
and full of loyalty and loose liberty.

But I wonder if they are
just not capable, if they are
just crippled by their
inability to let go and move on?

I know how many days have come,
winds blowing, raking and pawing at me lusty,
unwanted doggy beasts, knocking me loose
and then away and disappearing.

I know how many thrusts, rooting have picked me over
and my secrets tumbling dead and colorful in air
away to dirt but I left lonely, hanging unrequited there
and flapping solitary in the winds of shame.

But there are still some (leaves, secrets, treasures)
still hanging on and unable to let go,
adorned in funeral robes dolorous
and hued in autumn splendor.

Most see them as emblems, medals,
battle spoils dearly won and worn…
but they are just proof
of my weaknesses and loss

and inability to quit,
to let go and enter
into that towering
still White transition called

Winter…

which, disguised as death
to frighten all assailants,
holds my dreams and hopes and losses
all in trust and buried deep in wombs
of merciful becoming masquerading
as cold tombs silent, dark and numbing,

Winter…

who holds my heart gripped
in her frosty kiss desperate,
longing for her last gasp
before presenting me
to the sprites of spring and then
the suns of summer.

The last one…there.
map, marking ways
hidden and secret to find
my deepest treasures,

or medal, memory of moments
living and filthy with love
long ago so bold and given over now
to the grave so lonely and cold.

I guess only Winter
really knows and will proclaim
when She calls roll and
the Final Thaw begins.

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5 thoughts on “Only Winter Really Knows

    • Thank you!! So this poem, it is in relation to earlier poems that I was writing in the fall, about fall and about transitions in life that come to us. It touches on those themes but builds forward, because those poems began with fall’s beginning and worked towards winter approaching…particularly “This Drifty Floaty Timeless Moment” and “Calligraphic Gesture” .

      Winter…like you, I have found winter to be a trial endured. But this year, I think it is gonna be a time of carrying, a time of being “with child”.

      We’ll see what poems I am writing about it in February lol!

  1. I have picked this for myself, from the branches of your heart:

    “I know how many thrusts, rooting have picked me over
    and my secrets tumbling dead and colorful in air
    away to dirt but I left lonely, hanging unrequited there
    and flapping solitary in the winds of shame.

    But there are still some (leaves, secrets, treasures)
    still hanging on and unable to let go,
    adorned in funeral robes dolorous
    and hued in autumn splendor.”

    Just. speechless.
    You know why.

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