Adkins Arboretum Book Club – Poetry Reading

paper snow

as in nature
no two are alike.

you snip neat triangles,
careful diamonds,
the leavings littering the floor
like new year’s confetti.

my scissors move
in swirls and curves,
feathers of white
drifting beneath the table.

the children sleep.
there are gifts to be wrapped,
mugs washed,
a dog waiting by the door.

still we linger,
and the peace builds
like falling snow.

below freezing

winter is
my lonely soul.

winter is
not knowing you
the way i do
in summer.

winter is
too many layers.

winter is
our words
unraveling towards
the white horizon,
a frozen cloud.

solstice notes

my solstice wind chimes
jewel the winter nights
with a wild sparkling
of notes.

before the freeze
i climbed
the twisted oak
to string them
from a gnarled branch.

in icy tempest
their music soothes
the wint’ring birds.

enchanted, i will sleep
in tuneful dreaming
until spring’s soft winds
invite a witch’s dance
beneath the stars.


after all this time of clouds
the snow is falling,
so quickly covering
the places where we walked.

the river
iced over
is a blur of white.

how suddenly the familiar
becomes strange—

i will not even try
to make my way
through silent paths
to where we used to live.


o bright god,
without you
winter disappoints.

in summer
i preferred shadow,
covered up
and wore dark glasses.

i drink you in,

i stand by the window
just to feel
your touch on my face.

at day’s end
i follow you
through the streets
and plead
“come back, come back.”

fortunate trees
on whose highest branches
you linger.

if you must leave,
leave with pastel longing,
but tomorrow
blind me
with your brilliance.

j. l. houghton


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