Resilience

In the glade an old Red Oak stands naked,
except for a single fluttering leaf,
still cast with the color of fall.
I have watched it for hours, and
I wonder if is proclaiming a message.
An axiom of life in its resilience,
its tenacity to purpose, to refusal,
a dogged determination to hang in there.
Though the winter wind tugs at its grip,
still it stays convinced that it must,
if not for purpose, then for the tree.

©2015, Donald Harbour

The wheel of the year

There is sleep in the air,
rustling leaves begin to fall,
the sagging eyelids of the season.
Each day a crispness awakens,
it heralds other subtle changes,
rest for the land, flowers, lakes.
The cleansing purgatory of snow
gathers its chemistry in the north.
The gentle breeze whispers: “Quiet now,”
the hush is Mother Nature’s cool touch
upon the frantic fevered cheek of summer.
Human hearts yearn for this time,
they cling to past ancient old ways,
a quickening yearning for the hearth,
harvested fields, ducks on the fly.
Goddesses lurk in the shadows,
Modron and Olwen lean into their work,
shouldering, turning the wheel of the year.
Sages know only spring and autumn hold love,
the dawn and twilight of seasons,
the spiritual recharging of all life.
Smoke rises from a distant chimney,
it has comfort in its languid message,
a temple incense carrying prayers.
In the living is the solitary knowledge
that with the ending of the year awaits
creation’s glorious beginnings,
the only promise winter gives up.

©2015, Donald Harbour

Morning in the South

I arose this morning –
the dawn silently tip toeing,
across the sleeping dark horizon.

Bare stark branches of trees,
gatekeepers of the coming day,
beseech the horns of Luna to stay.

Night has left behind diamonds
glittering, strung across the ground,
a gift for the coming spring.

Tendrils of fireplace smoke waft
with the musky clear, crisp air,
a ritual offering to the hearth.

Fluffy feathered birds chirp awake,
shaking the cold from drowsy beaks,
tenors tuning up for their work.

A distant hound speaks its mind,
announcing another glorious
morning in the American South.

This magical moment of wakening,
carries the heritage of time,
of past and present, of tomorrows.

It touches the soul, the heart,
with things that are gentle reminders
of what it means to be a Southerner.

 ©2015, Donald Harbour

The golden years

The dust of dusk is gathering,
an orange tinged crimson,
its detritus closes the hour.

The past procrastinates, lying,
deceiving the learned, the wise.
burying its muzzle in your forgotten.

There is no beginning in its end,
only the moment, another dawn,
the brass ring, another ride.

This flaccid imitation of hope,
of spiritual calamity, devouring
humanity with closed mouth clamoring.

Just when you figure life out,
a small rat of truth arrives, hungry
gnawing at the seams of your past.

You know you cannot win, ever,
the only trophy on your shelf
a granite slab and six feet of earth.

©2014, Donald Harbour

Winter long flying bird

The hawk of winter is sinking
its talons into the soul of earth,
bitter grievous dark beacon of
the long sleep, long flying bird
that beckons the forgiveness of spring,
it cannot wait its task for it blankets
this night with the howl of its song
and the moulting of its cold cold feathers,
perched upon the dead and fallow ground
there is hope in the birth it nurtures,
a blessing in the sacrifice to destiny,
it will not nest forever but for the morrow,
cast back to its northern clime
duty bound to leave us when the sun
awakens from its southern sojourn
with a heated nod shooing that pesky bird.

©2014, Donald Harbour

This house

The house is speaking tonight,
commentary, with clicks and sighs.

Its mouthpiece a north wind,
moaning, as the zephyr whistles.

Then, gathering itself up
to move, with the darkness.

Somnolent solitary shifting,
as if, the night hides secrets.

Does it hide truths of the past,
a desolate sentinel of time.

Lives lived, lives lost, composted,
can its timbers remember, and speak.

A whispered reciting of life’s passage,
I do not understand its language.

An ancient part of me hears, feels, and
knows, this house dwells in all of us.

©2014, Donald Harbour

The bite of winter

The season’s dog has clamped its jaws,
biting deep into my warm, moist flesh.
It’s bark turning the sky dispiriting grey
as a canopy of death, an ash urn turned
upside down clutching at the life below
with corpse cold fingers. The birds
refuse to fly, those that do soon drop
from heaven, feathered chunks of ice.
To breathe is to inhale shards of glass,
each breath a searing arctic surgery.
The air is still, cloying, a suffocating chill.
Frigidness permeates every pore in the body
making hands useless, hammer struck fingers
ache dangling off reddened fleshy paws.
The end of the year brings the burden
of survival to all creatures; except
those frozen in stillness, burrowed deep in
the earth never knowing the suffering above,
sleeping to awaken when spring triumphs,
banishing old man Winter to his northern realm.

©2013, Donald Harbour