Winter Poems: 'River-dawn', by jan-u-wine, with 'Winter River' by Martin Poole.
The second of jan-u-wine's winter poems is newly written, inspired by the painting below. This time, we look through the eyes of an older Frodo, a Frodo who has been through much, yet still is trying to take in his parents' deaths.
Again jan-u-wine does her magic, choosing just this and that word, this and that remembered image, to make a poem that takes us inside Frodo's lingering mix of thoughts and feelings. Its pace is like the winter river's, pensive, grave, stilling here and there while memories glance up from its ice-mirrored depths. But the rhythm keeps pulsing along, quiet and deep, like the water in the winter river.
The picture used for this post, found by chance browsing for winter river scenes, was painted by Martin A. Poole. I found more of his work on line, mostly landscapes, which were beautiful and atmospheric like this one, 'Winter River'. I found almost no biographical information about him, only that he is American-educated (graduated SUNY-Bufflao 1979) and that his work is being shown and sold from galleries. Hopefully, he is alive and well and still painting.
Gentle upon the face of the Hill,
this quiet dawn.
west-faded and wide-flung, scribe silver fire upon the great sky-cloak.
A small wind cards cold fingers through leaf-poor trees.
Today, I am in mind of another dawn, a day-beginning
so distanced it should have been a dreme....
Uncommon cold, that winter,
the river's crystal-brown thread slowed
and weary in its narrow course,
black-grey bank-stones near hidden
by blue-green ice-melt,
tree roots, night-rimed and
sparking beneath an admantine necklacing of snow.
I remember the dawn, that day.
Da and Mumma had gone, you see,
the river binding them in green-gold silence,
the quieting waves of her parting us
ever did I seek them,
ever did my heart
Beneath and between the reeds,
the pools, the little
ever did I find myself close by
she who had held them,
she who knew
Perhaps, within the silences, the dark depths
there was some memory,
some small remainder
And so I attended her, the River-Lady.
This morning, I attended her,
the sky orange-pink with winter-water'd dawn,
fog lying like silver lace
upon green-mounded hillocks,
trees, starve-limbed and lonely.
The very air, even,
smelled of cold, the sharp spike of it
burning and crystalline,
magikal, somehow, within my lungs.
I wondered, in my small and childish way,
I wondered, (as my hand broke the ice at river's edge),
I wondered if it were burning and crystalline
and magikal to breathe water
instead of air.
I wondered if you might see the sky from beneath the water-curtain,
or the wavering tall ranks of slender trees......
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * Near frozen, entire, the river that day,
the bank harsh with the sliver-creak of cast-up ice,
the little water-ribbon cold and still before the Sun's swift rise.
And I stayed by her, this river,
All the long day, I kept my vigil,
watching and waiting
as the sky became burnt with blue,
warming waters journeying, at last,
to the distanced Sea.
Birds came, their small, winter songs
rising like smoke,
each note parceled out,
thin as thread upon the wakening air.
At the last, the Sun
painted gold and rose upon the encircled clouds,
touched its gentle light
to depthless, secret places.
At the last, I turned from her.
Finally, I *could* turn
from her, the cold wind
welcome and bruising upon my uncovered face.
Tender dawn, parchment-fragile,
touches the Hill,
waits, like a held-breath in brake
and thicket and field,
soothes each wandering stream.
And still I stand,
in the dying of the night and the birthing of the day.