There is a type of grass called bluestem which, in my local experience, is anything but blue --
but there is no doubting the blue of this stem -- Virgo Maria blue, if anything, with a winter born baby bud to boot.
There is an extravagance to winter, formal, subtle, easy-to-miss,
and its wayfaring tangles lead to where only the most intrepid dare to follow --
the triple signpost of here, before and after.
Who, after all, even remembers the soft, cream-colored cradles of infancy ?
or the cat's-cradle strings and twirling double-dutch ropes of childhood ?
We sweat under layers of a here and now as over-embroidered as a bad Christmas sweater.
Something more inorganic, we plead; we require diamonds, granite countertops, gold-plated bathroom fixtures ! Or, if not that, the interface of water and ice, of light and shadow
which we can, at will, reduce to a palette of black and white and gray.
Glory be to God for dappled things -- said Father Hopkins
-- all things counter, original, spare, strange --
meaning this --
and this --
and this !
Who could ask for a more glamorous demise,
borne off onto a ocean of milky twilight
on a ship of fantastic rigging and gorgeous sail
will a hold crammed with dried berries
adequate for any voyage.
And if a body meet a body coming through the rye, well, all aboard:
it's a passage booked before time began, destination unknown.