cold, comfort and joy

i walked down the chilly sidewalk

past the rusty frozen oak leaves

and the bird-pecked pines

slowly oozing sap like candle wax

the wind turned my bare hands blue

when i was unwise enough

to pull them from my pockets

we few inhabitants of the park

were silent on our solitary strolls

under that close and clouded sky

in winter the world shows its age

i passed a pair of dying trees

nearly shed of bark

their gleaming trunks exposed like bone

and i remembered all the seeds

planted in the soil this year

old bodies buried beneath the ground

until the day they’ll sprout

and go dancing through the dawn

around a bend in the path

i saw a row of baby saplings

their roots warmed by mufflers of mulch

i eyed their slender trunks

their crisped, curly leaves

and wondered how many

would survive the snows ’til spring

yet what lies beneath is hidden

to my eyes, and deep down

the dormant life awaits awakening

nearing home i left the path

and walked across the field

of drooping grass and leaves

rain-wet lichens shown brilliantly

from the apple tree’s bare branches

and on its neighbor lilac i noticed

new buds forming green and fresh

next to summer’s withered blooms

i scaled the steps and with stiffened fingers

turned the key in the lock, walking into

the welcoming smells of home

in the living room the Christmas lights

twinkled from the tree

and though my face was red

and white with cold

my heart, bright with rebirth

sang joy, joy, joy