Liberty Hyde Bailey
Snow to my knees, shivering blasts
Piercing slivers of ice and sleet
Creaking trees all rigid and gaunt
Clouds that drive in the wind-wild vasts
Houses clean gone from field and street
Footways buried to stall and haunt,—
Ah winter, old winter, so braggartly hurled,
Unfrightened we stand on the top of your world,
Unprisoned and free as the birds that are whirled
When blizzards are loosed and the tempests are sent—
Unhurried we wait till your furies are spent.
Wide is the world of the drifting snow
Wide over the waste the white rifts go
Travelling on with a ceaseless flow
Out to the voids we never shall know.
Frog insect and snake lie fast lie tight
Hidden and snug in pocketed deeps,
But we are alive come green come white
The year is ours while the ‘neath-world sleeps,—
Ours with rabbit’s track and mouse’s trail
With grasses frayed and rough trees snow-limbed
Fence-drift’s clean curl and the seed-pod’s sail
Stumps white-turbanned and deep creeks ice-rimmed.
Crunch and crunch through the white snapping crust
With frigid bush and summer’s dead stalk
Where earth lies deep and ice-piles are thrust,
The trackless ways are the ways we walk,—
Walk out and out with the swirling snow
On to the realms of bluster and blow
Where ghosts of the years of long ago
Shriek thro’ the hills to caverns below.
Stript to the bone is the wind-worn year
Cover and mask and ornament gone—
Clear as days to the sight of the seer
We understand when the veil is withdrawn.
Come on, ye storms! Together we reach
Past and outpast the timid alarms—
This is our day; and over the breach
We go the way of the warmthless farms.
from WIND AND WEATHER: Poems
Doulos Christou Press, 2008.
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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com