January Light

After the ice storm. Archive Photo of the Day: Mike Corse, Pierrepont, NY

After the ice storm. Archive Photo of the Day: Mike Corse, Pierrepont, NY

Woke to the whirr of the furnace this morning. The weather page tells me it’s in the low single digits, and looking out the kitchen window I squint into the glare of a bluebird sky blasting back from a dusting of new snow.

A beautiful day, suitable for framing–in a window that is, while I sit next to the heat vent in the kitchen and sip coffee. I love the light of January, if not the numb nose and cheeks and ears of it.

Here’s a poem for January, which is easy on the eyes, but has a heart like ice.

January Light

After the ice storm, the clock blinks 12:00 12:00 12:00,
a sign that linemen have worked through the night.
A harsh chainsaw song cuts air where town crew
clears out the river road north to the village.

For two days, the light has been ominous, pearl gray,
as drizzle and sleet accrued to every twig and needle,
a waxing crystal burden bowing birch, apple and pine
to breaking. Ice plates the car and the drive is rink.

But from the west, overcast gives way to cirrus clouds
and clear sky. Then sunshine riots through the woods,
reduplicated in a million refracted winks and sparks.
Ice light everywhere, diamond-sharp, mercilessly bright.

The front brings ten degrees of cold, gusts and a harder rain
as flexing limbs loose their carapace of ice. In an hour it’s mostly
down to ground. Trees unbent resume their dark winter’s watch.
By afternoon the snow returns to hide away the shards.

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