“Winter” by Joan McBreen

Source: Winter in the Eye: Selected Poems (Cliffs of Moher: Salmon Poetry 2003)
- available at the Joan McBreen webpage - online.



In winter there comes a hush
as if illness had swerved towards us.
We speak of it in quieter tones
believing we can accept harsher weather.

When Gretel decided
they would go together deep into the forest,
she became afraid. Would they lose one another,
would the path disappear?
When she called her brother’s name over and over,
he did not come back.

When I look winter in the eye,
I am looking down dense corridors of trees.



Sunlight falls on kitchen tiles and chairs,
solidifies worktops, appliances, stacked papers.
Pictures of friends and children
hang on shadowed walls.

I move into this vacancy.

Outside late roses are within reach,
wet leaves clog gutters and drains.

Watching the light flood across the garden
I am startled by a bird beating
its wings against the window-pane.

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