Six Winter Songs

by John R. Crutchfield


The woods an empty house
no longer aching to be lived in.
Smoke roams the earth:

the dead ones, still looking
for ways to help.


You can pick something up,
the fragment of a dead leaf,
a stick, a shard of bark.

The days are little villages
in grief’s hinterlands.


Soon, if you hold still,
you are indistinguishable
from the things of winter.

Clean slant of light on clay.

A kernel flaring in the fallen leaves.


The trees talk different dialects
of wind.  The last leaves fall
and also the pine needles fall,
three-pronged and golden.

There might be enough time.


The trees need their rest
she would have said.
It’s time to stay in one place for a while.
Let the pale things have their dreams
in the dark earth.


No thought could have brought you here,
for whom I’m dark and still.
It wasn’t my blood I heard
but you, by yourself and shining,
striding this way


JOHN R. CRUTCHFIELD is a poet and dramatist holding degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Cornell University. His lives and works in Boone, North Carolina, where he teaches at Appalachian State University and continues to produce verse drama. His Songs of Robert has been performed in North Carolina by Mr. Crutchfield and his associates in the X-Factor dramatic group.