'They dangle in thousands from the hazels,
aligned by strict gravity, melodious notes
swept along a fine staff of branches invisible
against the dark confusion of February forest.
Long winter-flowers, hovering, pale yellow
with greenish tinge; their perfect profusion
sings an orderly chord—you can hear the hum
with your eyes.
We have survived the big storm,
trees breaking beneath burdens of ice,
broken roofs, camp dinners, candlelight,
homes gone cold. We cancelled gatherings,
postponed the overschedule, came back online
with stories--how we made it through.
Here in the heart of winter, autumn
has been carried way back in the runoff.
Harbingers of spring are still folded-in, buried
too deep to swell, awaiting any hint of warmth.
But these catkins pronounce a golden fairy light
that chants to us through the veiled drift of mist:
steady in the stillness,
glimmer in the dark.'
~ 'Catkins' by Don Freas.
Illustration by Cicely Mary Barker.