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Here, where the night groans
At the onset of winter,
The embittered oak
Cries grievances.
The wind will twist
Its knotty boughs to groaning,
Bare now, in the sharp air, and black,
Its silhouette
Has the gathered and upturned skeletal hands
Of the ignorant Pagan –
A Celt, perhaps –
Deifying the same cold sky that damns him.

Riverhead in winter
Is a bare place.
The scattered groves of oaks
Are broken stilts at angles —
Skeletal clusters,
Pagans drawn together,
All their upturned hands
Make macabre entreaties.

All the ordered crops
Lay frigid and stiff,
Intractable tracts
Of a long since yielded harvest.
The inflexible soil
Is brittle underfoot.
Every wayward step
Is made a guttural whisper.

Skeletal, too,
Are the various frameworks
Of the dormant agriculture:
Broken down plows, discarded wagons,
Askew, their iron frames
Rise like rusting ribs
Of abandoned animals –
Artifacts in icy wind.

Thoughts of My Love
Carry me from this cold place.
Its bareness is an afterthought beside
Her imagined countenance.
As the very notion of her
Has always warmed my heart,
She charms even the frost.

Her very idea
Renders encroaching winter
Into whimsy.
Her conjured figure
Makes this December
Delight even senses
Besieged by chill.

In an altogether
Different sylvania
My imagination finds her
At a pass.
The Blue Ridge Mountains rise
In deep hues around her,
Steeply reaching up,
Vaulting into falling Virginia snow.

Each individual pine
In the darkling woods
Is flurried into silver –
Yes, silver – the moon there
Makes each fir shimmer
In its delicate skirt
Of gentle snow.

Snow, too, powders the Hills.
All the long slopes and craggy features
Turn pearl.
Their peaks like gloss,
They range the horizon –
Whitening giants
Slumbering in snow.

Her gathered and upturned hands
Are lithe and pink.
She laughs as
The white alights her palms.

The moon makes light
That sets the vast hills gleaming
Burnished obsidian awash in ivory
Rising up and yet
No light can rival
Her own illumination

All bundled under
A little knit cap,
Her face – a radiance
Every bit as natural
As her environs —
Her loveliness is
Pastoral, after a fashion,
Natural and vast,
Despite its slim form,
Artless, unaffected.
Its splendor is
A rising native backcloth
An unadorned country.

As all the great dark hills in winter grow cold,
Her expression warms
Chance passersby.

And her merest memory
Warms me.

© Eric Robert Nolan 2013

*****

Time for another piece from Eric Nolan today. We’re always happy to receive poetry by this talented young writer, and this piece is another exceptional piece of story-telling, prosaic poetry. A breathtaking piece epic in scale and meaning, this  really speaks to us of otherworldly desires, thoughts and images. The simplicity of the title belies the scope and complexity of the words within. Deeply metaphorical and metaphysical, this piece is a joy to behold, and one we are extremely proud to feature here. Keep an eye on Eric, with works like this we feel he has a burgeoning creative career ahead of him.

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