Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese chatter.

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The hollow cheeks of winter scantily cover
the skeletal lantern jaw of spring; bones
bleached white by receding frost are free
to begin their stiff rattle for warmth
and to generate the spirits who come armed
with bare bodkins. Spindled fingers, barer
than the twigs, mesmerise waves of air;
cajoling it, shaping it –
sieving from it whiter ghosts whose jangling,
laden necklaces jump up and down
to distract nature while they attempt to mix
together taboos with pestle and mortar
made from the wood of hardy grapevines –
its pounding fists crush green snakes with albino
to sedate her lust for colourful concoctions.

Meanwhile, the elixir created for the belly
of spring is fed intravenously – nature’s essential
essence and innate disposition doesn’t allow
for winter’s voodoo to dance past its time to rest
and it calls sap to rise, but not before
veins of ochre pump the hesitant glimmers
of warm sun to feed feathers on new growth –
the fair down worn by earthy women – dancing
to death storms under foot – mulching in croaking
remnants of damp and decomposing cloth.

The gaseous canary sings louder, happily shifting
its weight until coldness is gone
and its old clothes are discarded for new
they are tossed into the fire; smells
from warmed bones meet a sky heavy
with murmuring, and amber sparks
hanging from its underbelly cling like
new born kittens from snagged cotton
waiting for a cushion – as time waits for new flesh
to stick to spring’s ribs. And, like the certainty
of kisses, sweet and plenty, winter’s stuff
will not endure the warm rains of its graven image
burning in effigy –
springtime’s triumphant rebirth
is the flame of winter falling as golden daffodils.

*Title partially nicked from King Lear.

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