February is a month of waiting, a time of transition from the depths of winter’s grip to the tempests which surly await us come spring. It can be a trying time, often a lonely time. But, for me, it is also a time for quiet reflection and rekindled purpose. The days are growing longer, early bulbs begin to poke up their heads, offering a glimpse of things to come. The crocus here are already blooming. Today I offer three poems reflective of the many facets of February, ranging from the cold cruelty of loss to the renewed spirit of hope.
My first poem, ‘Waiting’ was written several years ago as our beloved Beagle declined. I’ve always thought of poetry as emotions in written form, and thus am often moved to write poetry after (or during) some emotional event.
Chill winds blow on this cold February morn,
Sucking the heat from our old, drafty house.
Curled on his blanket, waiting patiently for death,
Is my old friend for these past eleven years.
His sad brown eyes are still alert,
But his tail no longer wags.
His kidneys are failing him.
Betrayed by his own body
He waits for the cold comfort of death.
It comes to us all, I know,
Yet that gives me little consolation.
It has been four days since he’s eaten a thing.
Even scraps no longer hold an appeal.
I pray he is not in too much pain,
But how can I know for certain.
As long as he recognizes us,
And does not appear in agony,
We will keep him, comfort him.
I know, with the certainty of experience past,
The time is coming for that final ride to the Vet.
I will dig the grave, and we will gather round,
For a cold February mourn.
I like to dabble in haiku, a form of poetry that looks so simple, yet is hard to pull off. The untitled poem below is composed in four verses of traditional 3-5-3 haiku, one verse for each week of the month.
Peaceful under snow
Hope blows on the breeze
Dance upon the wind
Leaves in hair
Birds on wing
Small mammals with young
Spring draws near
While February is far from my favorite month, I do see it as a time for renewed hope. It is when I start roaming the backyard and neighborhood looking for sings of life. I wrote ‘February’ with that theme in mind.
Snow under foot.
Cold pierces our lungs,
Wind brings tears to our eyes.
Woodlands sleep deep, feigning death.
Oak, ash – stripped of all they hold dear.
Yet strange beauty persists here,
Nudes dancing in the wind,
Limbs reaching skyward,
Of course all three of these reflect my Northern Hemisphere biases, as my friends from the south have no doubt noted. How do you feel about February? What kinds of inspiration or challenges do you find in our shortest of months?
Poems and photo © 2013 by J. M. Strother, all rights reserved.