Winter Day


This ice beaten down and silencing

Bitterdead winter’s day

A full hour before the smothering

Dusk when the pallid sun

Would redden and smear its lifeblood

Over the darkening sky

A white owl wafted silently

Down the leat’s long scar

Like a sign of something living

Unbelievably far

From the cramping hands and the fading

Warmth of a failing star

When the cold was merely a reason

To welcome the muscular fire

Flaming the toffee amber

Pint in a waking hand

Ice was at bay but the owlflight

Woven around the spire

Of the sleeping church was speaking

Of when the sky would light

And the armour of ice would be breaking

And death and dark would tire.

Written after waiting at a point in Norfolk in midwinter watching birds of prey coming in to roost as the sun set and seeing a Barn Owl waft close down the ditch just in front of us.

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