Winter

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This week has been a tough one for writing–a bit of a slog. I’ve been struggling with this poem for a while now, and I’m posting it even though it’s still a work in progress. I’m especially unsure about the final lines.

Winter

Winter’s cold pierces like talons
Her full moon,
an unblinking, predatory orb,
casts a questing glow

In the late night stillness
of her bitter chill,
darkened tree limbs tap and creak
beneath their ninguid burdens
Shadows flicker and flow
in pockets of dark
like whispers

Winter stretches her wings
soars in silent flight then
swoops
with lethal grace

the rabbit’s death cry
rips the night
shattering the frigid air

safe in our homes
sleeping in warm feathered beds
we shift uneasily

Molly Hogan (c) 2018

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Kay McGriff at her blog, A Journey Through The Pages. Make sure to stop by and warm up with some poetry this weekend!

23 thoughts on “Winter

  1. katswhiskers says:

    So much imagery and evocative language, Molly, triggering all the senses. (I had to google ‘ninguid’ – which probably shows I don’t live in snow country! I’m disappointed that I’ll probably never get a chance to use it, myself – or if I do, I’ll have forgotten what the word was!!)

    My thoughts to throw into the mix of your last stanza ponderings – if they’re helpful? Disregard if they’re not! I’m wondering if you need the first two lines. They seemed an abrupt shift in focus. I think the final line is more powerful alone. Or even, ‘in feathered beds / we shift uneasily.’

    Just popping thoughts out there to get you rolling again – because I know that poetry slog feeling! Thank-you for sharing your work in progress, especially when you’re feeling the uncertainty. (I know that feeling, too! 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    Ooh, ninguid is a good word that I’ll also never have occasion to use. Maybe there’s an old word that means humid or rainy.
    I like how you ended with that discomfort even within our covers. For me, it’s always my feet that stay cold. I like Kat’s suggestion for simplifying. Sometimes when I struggle with a poem, it’s because I’ve used too many words when fewer are stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      SWULLOCKING
      This is an old southeast English word meaning “sultry” or “humid.” If the sky looks swullocking, then it looks like there’s a thunderstorm on its way.
      How about this one, Margaret? (It didn’t take much to entice me to go down the word-finding rabbit hole and put off my morning chores 🙂 Your advice about using too many words is spot-on. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie says:

    I too had to look up “ninguid” and every time I write it, it’s highlighted as misspelled! I do love that stanza with winter swooping. When we have a storm, it is like that, some unseen being making us uneasy! And I love the extended metaphor, Molly. I agree with Kat and Margaret, the final line is all you need. Beautiful poem! We have had the strangest winter. It was 70 degrees yesterday and it’s supposed to snow tomorrow! Happy Weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Linda. I’m definitely going to keep playing with that final stanza. Our winter has been odd as well–lots of bitter cold and then a few days of relative warmth. It’s unsettling. I’m hoping the plants can figure it all out!

      Like

  4. onathought says:

    I love the final stanza — the idea that we are safe and warm… lucky because that isn’t what winter is about for every creature. . . If it isn’t sitting with you though, you could revise… take out the first line since the second shows us you are safe in your home.

    we sleep in warm feathered beds
    and shift uneasily

    beautiful winter poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to give me some feedback. I’m going to take a couple of days away from the poem and then come back and see what I think. Often that helps clarify the whole thing!

      Like

  5. I enjoyed this poem a lot. I love the cold’s talons and pockets of dark like whispers. I agree with your conflicting feelings about the last stanza. On one hand, it can be effective to have a contrast, but it seems abrupt to me. I love everything else. You might just want to end with the image of the rabbit’s cry. Overall, excellent job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I really do appreciate it. It’s funny when you know something isn’t quite right, yet you can’t put your finger on it. That’s when having a regular writing group would be so helpful! Thanks for serving that purpose today (along with a few other generous souls!).

      Like

  6. I applaud your writing persistence when slogging is what’s happening. Speaking of mice. Well, your poetry referenced rabbits. Hannah has trapped a mouse each of the last four nights in her car. Do you have such mice issues in your vehicles? Her car is in our garage. Must be a helluva nest near the engine block! Do you have a link to one of your poems about such mice?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy says:

    Wow, that word ninguid is new to me and I probably have to ask Mr. Google. I learned one new word today. Thank you for sharing a beautiful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Molly, your poem captures winter’s underlying menace perfectly. The silence of our winter nights are shattered by howling coyotes, which definitely causes us to “shift uneasily” in our beds! I love the owl metaphor, and I had to look up ninguid, too. What a great word!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Catherine. Those coyotes are eerie sounding, aren’t they? I believe “ninguid” is somewhat obsolete, but I love how it sounds. You can check out “niveous” as well–I think it’s related to Christie’s subnivean zone!

      Like

  9. Liz Steinglass says:

    Molly, this is gorgeous. I love the language and metaphors. I agree about the end–I’m not sure you need all the words you have. Fewer might work even better.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such strong images capture winter’s beauty and danger.

    Like

  11. You’ve cast a vivid picture of winter in all her glory and ills, this stanza particularly moved me,
    “Winter stretches her wings
    soars in silent flight then
    swoops
    with lethal grace”
    Thanks for sharing your WIP Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Michelle. This winter seems more capricious than most! We have another delay this morning due to freezing rain and ice but are anticipating highs near 50 this afternoon!

      Like

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