The Folklore of Winter
Tunes for a Monday Morning

On the cusp of winter solstice

Nattadon and Meldon Hills in winter

Contemplating winter solstice

The Nattadon path

Lines for Winter

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
Drawing by Arthur Rackhamwalking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

 - Mark Strand (from Selected Poems)

Trollsin Starlight by John Bauer

Pictures: The drawing is by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939); the painting is by John Bauer (1882-1918). Words: "Lines for Winter" is from New Selected Poems by Mark Strand (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007); all rights reserved by the author.

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