poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “winter”

coming into focus

there is some life left
in the frozen woods
I found it by accident
no doubt beneath
where owls once ruled
in their wise-old ways

along the way I spotted
the dying & the dead
collected them in my
photographic memory
like non-fungible tokens
one click at a time

I was told I don’t
belong here anymore
that it wasn’t my time
the wind & ice crystals
encouraging me to go back
before it was too late

coming into focus

january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

emergency run

it’s christmastime & we’ve no tequila in the cupboard
this pointed out to me by someone who doesn’t live here

how can we play stop lights without tequila
what could possibly take its place
—red   —yellow   —green

the travelers & gatherers & unannounced guests
have since moved on their merry way
now that the blizzard has passed

what shall keep us warm tonight without the power
without the fire
or the stories or the liquor
what could possibly make us survive another night

I’ve always wanted snowskies & snowshoes
just in case we need to make an emergency run
helping others along the way
stranded & without a prayer to make it to safety

that is
until I arrive like a miracle out of the ice
like a saint bernard with a backpack full of spirits

december two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

winter wormhole

my game was good enough
to keep out of the marsh
giving myself [at least] a chance
to shine on a steely day

I ventured into the forest
[perhaps for the last time]
knowing full well
some singletrack trails
have no end

voices along the way
whisper & shout [on occasion]
interested in body language
and how it might translate
once leaving itself

november two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

whether natural or man-made

streams are dying up
the rivers receding
winter is coming
should we be worried

missiles are sailing
nukes are on the move
sitting outside
the danger zone
should we be worried

tent cities crop up
accommodating despair
the world revolving
as people flee
what they thought
was their home
destinations unknown
should we be worried

birds and butterflies
migrating southward
before the winter kill
struggling against
prevailing winds
whether natural
or man-made
[should we be worried]

october two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in the dead of winter

I’m on the fence again
like a crow at the county’s edge
contemplating his next move

winter lasts forever here
sunlight bouncing off the white carpet
and back into space

I’m not much for small talk
and the pace can’t get much slower
thoughts frozen in time

inside beside the burning fire
a notebook & sharpened pencils
whispering my name

january two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

bracing for the winter

how do I fit in
in the grand scheme of things
is there truly a place to mark my spot
or am I dreaming still

there’s work yet to be done
the voice inside me tells me
(on occasion)
do I listen or do I not
how I’m always outside the box
looking for something else

I should go to vermont
or any other place on the planet
but I am stuck here
planning on replanting seeds
gathered centuries ago
handed down to me

october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

special delivery

unused wishes
and patches of blue
peek through wintry skies

floor lamp on low dim
exposing raindrops
suspended on frozen glass

solitary thoughts
packed heavily like snow
grow weary day by day

cursive writing
beautiful postcard scene
airmail stamp and brevity

february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it filters through

some birds are back but the temps
are well below zero
either they never got the memo
or they’ve come back early
for some unknown reason

I slowed down for a murder of crows
while taking the long way home
a hundred or so
cleaning up a spill of sorts near
the corn sweetener plant
once in my rearview
anxiously getting back at it

shifting gears past the hill
the music meets the sun
and the speeding locomotive
sounding off along the river
eagles circling high above
sparrows racing in my peripheral
nearly anything with wings
busily chasing dreams

february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Partly to mostly cloudy

The groundhog checked into the bed
and breakfast on January 31st

The year was twenty twenty
and the owner thought he looked
familiar but couldn’t quite
put her finger on it

Perhaps you’ve seen me
on the big screen
the groundhog conjectured
tipping his cap as he ambled up the stairway
suitcase in tow and lilliputian tail waving

Oh one more thing
the lady of the house called out
how long will you be staying
with us Mister Murphy
you know you’re welcome here
as long as you please
she said smiling
her hands clasped together

That is so kind of you Madame
I suppose it all depends
upon this Pennsylvania weather
but to be sure
it could be as long as six weeks

january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

jack daniels and candlesticks

cancellations and closings
scrolling ad nauseum
alphabetically directly below
animated weather map

the snow never came
like they said it would
though the freezing rain
arrived unexpectedly
sleeting sideways and relentlessly
coating every single wire and branch
from here until next tuesday
putting the city and her
satellites out of commission

there’ll be no welfare checks
not tonight or tomorrow or
maybe ever again
the powers that be giving way
to unapologetic anarchy
all because of a little weather

january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sequestered until the equinox

inevitable like astronomical winter
there is no stopping the fall of december
or the rise of the new year

now that the sun is at its least powerful
you imagine what will keep you warmer
hot chocolate or kentucky whiskey
an old quilt and quiet reminiscing

you wonder where everyone’s gone
when or if they’ll ever return
leading you to recall old photographs
stashed away in cardboard boxes

in the back of your mind you take your time
and flip through each and every one

december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the spirit winter

waning crescent moves ever closer
to the morning light
unnoticed by most and understood by few
much like how autumn closes in
chasing away lovely Indian summer days
leaving you questioning how on earth
to survive the inevitable

pine trees shake and sway
sometimes forgotten like afterthoughts
standing tall and welcoming many
taking the brunt of the storm gracefully
buttressing the old farmhouse
natural insulation free for the taking

inside and out fire burns day and night
evident by smokestacks
sending signals to other life forces
both here on earth
and many light years away

april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

melting icicles mesmerizing like prisms

winter is a temporary affair
beautiful and inviting from the inside
fires burning in twilight
bodies warm and comfortable
dreams hot and cold and as real as life itself

she looked like an angel from afar
and especially up close
a winged creature who whispered
to me in my dreams
how winter is a temporary affair
and soon I will come back to life
and she will show me how to live again

how I wanted to believe her
but in the morning all was lost
those dreams I could easily touch
once again become out of reach
and as I go about my day
I repeat to myself
winter is a temporary affair

january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

surviving the winter (in four parts)

I am hopeful you will remain
like the timeworn stone wall
blending amongst rustic
late blooming flowers
returning year after year

white shadows lean upon
weathered wooden bench
etched with lines that
crisscross and divide
crevices like rivers carving out
deep deep memories

I am hopeful you will remain
and have not taken an early leave
before the solstice

though my eyes are weary
I am unafraid to cast my
sights westward
where the two of us sit in silence
until the late february thaw

september two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

feeding time in the stable

the horses are mind readers and can sense
your footfalls hitting concrete steps
from over fifty yards away

though they’ve been fed they’ll need
another meal somewhere down the line
in between new hired hand
hauling empty pails
up thirty-three steps seven times a day

the trails are sloppy from the january thaw
but the horses are quite content
staying put for the foreseeable future
and reminiscing about longer days
about a scoop of grain and two flakes of hay

january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a streetcar with no name

the sun won’t rise for a couple
hours more
but already the roads
are snow-covered above
and icy below

in most neighborhoods
the morning paper never arrives
and to anyone
daring to venture outside
experiences soft wood burning
and blackbirds squawking

up and down the streets
automobiles idle in driveways
or along curbsides
warming up to new ideas

(earlier a deadly accident
occurs on a lonely street corner)

you cannot hear it
nor can you sense it
you cannot even fathom it
until it slowly disseminates into the air
over a relatively short period of time

december two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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