Wrapped close, in implacable, bitter embrace,
The winter grips the land and holds it immobile,
The cat upon its mouse.
Stripped bare and glazed with stony ice
Ashudder beneath a slatecloud sky
That drops its snow in a hush of crowding dimness,
A white leaden mantle
Is lain over empty fields, piling 'round the trunks of skeletal trees
Standing soberly and waving their bony branches in the frozen air
The twilight days light a world now comatose,
Drawn in against the cold and huddled like
Some invalid giant shorn of all his strength,
Lying stretched half slain across the firmament
Gazing into nothing with a distant blank stare
As scattered carrion birds wheel against a wan canvas,
Those two in their little house circle 'round as well,
Moving without purpose through the events of their lives
As the cold outside seeps into the rooms
Invading their thoughts
To make them tremble
Shaken in the blindness of their desperation,
And though the fire blazes orange-warm in the hearth,
Defending this inside space from the day's deep gloom,
Autumnal sorrows have collected in the silence
And worn their hearts weary with cares,
And thus the spirit's wounds have festered and widened,
Filling with the poison of despair.
Soft sparks the glow of the fire makes in his tired eyes,
Reflecting wild fears that her love is lost;
They dance in his mind, stabbing with a pain
That knows no cure.
Long the time he just looks at her,
This life that chose to be with him always,
And he sees that
The hurt that came between,
He cannot bear that she leave him
Condemned to go on without her,
Her thoughts for him are much the same,
Though she says it not.
Yet when at last he reaches out across the table
And takes her hand in his,
She looks up, and for one long moment
They two become the lone human pair
In all of space and time,
And in one another's moist crystalline gaze
They read a deep sweet tale
In a language without words.
And something breaks
In that moment when she gently folds
Her delicate fingers over his,
Looking down again with a schoolgirl smile
Spreading irresistable over her face.
Outside, in the blackness of the star-shot night,
And waters run clear beneath the snow.