The Spike or Victoria College Review 1946
Poem In Winter
Poem In Winter
This is the end, the ultimate collapse,
The angel's footsteps wandering to silence,
The dark cloud dropped at twilight over vision,
The close frost gathering warm hands.
Winter the unexpected death, held dear,
The summer's wide remorse falls burdensome
On arms and shoulders given to decay.
For the winter, still and grey,
Breeds rain and growth, young
Saved to such and wander,
The dispossession of grief,
So in winter,
Garner the heart-frost gladly,
Make the cold earth welcome,
The last wind's leaving dear,
For in winter
Is the seed of the new birth-season.
Lover be clamourless,
In the new season
Do not give voice
In the lifting fog
To the barren note
Of the dead trees' song;
Love be limitless,
On the new pasture
Spread willing seed,
Give the dark earth
The boon of birth;
Love be hungerless,
For the new wisdom
Boldens the clouds
With your thin white blood,
To the living seed
Gives earthly food;
Love be passionless.
Spring may be crude, ungainly at the gaunt door,
Vigorous only in thrusting, not bringing beauty but life,
Dank, cadaverous, groping blind hands to daylight,
Agonised the earth, strident the upstart being.
But in this only, this painful ecstacy, lies life,
Uncouth from the erudite skull-cleft of winter;
Knowledge, taken at the year's collapse, without will,
Leads to a trough for gloom, a ploughing in of grief.
The first death past, no future seems so certain
As the silent lack of pain, the barrenness
Of iron rails that sighing swing together.
There is always a resurrection, here as there
Some sure recovery of life through love and grief
Unquiet is love at the bloodless winter surrender,
And soon bursts earth like bulbs, sky forced and drawn,
So will my heart, field-haven-held, reach spring.
W. H. Oliver