Walking in the Orchard – Lucie McKnight Hardy

Up here the seasons reign:
Winter is the queen, an ermine-clad enchantress,
Milk-skinned and bitten-lipped.

She licks at warm breath hungrily,
Seeking to devour, conspiring with Wind
To sever fingertips.

Her serried ranks of sentries stiffen.
Bare brittle limbs that clamour, seeking succour
From her sick embrace

Are scorned. She scowls on them
And black eyes that cannot reflect a light are scorched
Into that sinewed face.

Quick-witted, fleet-footed
She flits and dances, bestowing on her subjects
A frigid taste of daggers.

Trickling tongues are made rigid,
Silenced by her stare. The mirror-glass she shatters,
Quick to splinter. Jagged

Glass fragments are her knives,
Staggered sharpened shards of scratching crystal ice.
She’ll rub them in your eyes.

But the queen can be usurped.
She’ll wither, pucker, desiccate, decay.
And soon she’ll die.

A tender green emerges
And you taste the frost that’s held in meagre light.
White against white.

Snowdrop, do not bow your head.
You herald a new majesty.

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Image: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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