Grounds of Winter

The language of the howling wind allows an endless
Tale of winter to be told in one long syllable,
Here where this sea of flowing air has become a mere
Glaring of diffuse and mindless light, as unaware
As each dumb, chilling mid-day is of its transience,
Of how it will be grasped by the comprehensive dark.
Everything we see in such light is an optical
Allusion, and not to the winter of sunny noons,
Of smooth-packed snow gleaming in the farmyard, icicles
Eyeing the ground under the barn, of the white shed where
A dairymaid still churns by hand away at the tub
Of metaphor. Not to that, but to the fact-ridden
Land of the unfair cold space, of the unblinking time.

– John Hollander


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