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January Morning      

I wake to heavy fog
and a landscape dressed in white—

pine and juniper flocked with frost,

aspen branches sheathed

in glistening ice, crystalline spikes

where dry winter grasses spread,

a wondrous, mysterious world.

As the fog withdraws
and morning light shows through,

I stand at the bay window a long while

studying the sparkling glory

our few acres have become,

all the more compelling because

it cannot last, this beauty,
a mere anomaly in the desert.

I would hold on to this moment
if I could, but I have learned

all things lovely

are on their way to something else.


Iced-in on this bitterly cold night, ice memories
crystallize like frost on a windshield—
college mornings, temperature ten below,
we’re grateful the old Chevy starts,

the one his dad gave him before he left home.
We scrape windows, then, with care,
creep our way toward Eight O’clocks—
English for me, Physics for him.

He is numbers, I am words. The Quadrangle
is coated with silver-blue ice, beautiful,
but treacherous. Limbs of maple and elm,
like finest cut glass threaten to shatter.

We part ways, clutching books to our chests,
lean into biting wind. There’s a good chance,
no matter the good times to come, underfoot
will always be ice, limbs ready to shatter

Since retiring from Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2000, Linda Whittenberg has begun each day well before daylight writing or editing or reading poetry. She says, it is the time when words seem most free to jump onto the page. A chapbook and three collections of poems have resulted. Poems also have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. After many visits to Ireland, she has developed a close relationship with Irish writers and in 2014 published Somewhere in Ireland, poems about her experiences there. Currently a manuscript is in progress to be published in 2018.


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