John Crutchfield

Six Winter Songs


The woods an empty house
no longer aching to be lived in.
Smoke roams the earth:

the dead ones, still looking
for ways to help.


You can pick something up,
the fragment of a dead leaf,
a stick, a shard of bark.

The days are little villages
in grief’s hinterlands.


Soon, if you hold still,
you are indistinguishable
from the things of winter.

Clean slant of light on clay.

A kernel flaring in the fallen leaves.


The trees talk different dialects
of wind. The last leaves fall
& also the pine needles fall,
three-pronged & golden.

There might be enough time.


The trees need their rest
she would have said.
It’s time to stay in one place for a while.
Let the pale things have their dreams
in the dark earth.


No wish could have brought you here,
for whom I am dark & still.
This time it wasn’t my blood I heard
but you, by yourself & shining,
striding this way.