The wood is cut and darkness sighs
its needle shower of yew-green light,
of brown stems in the ragged hedge.
Stars pucker on the cusp of sight
and, startling from the woodland’s edge,
the moon is an owl; its cries
changing the track of the sea.
The stream sings out in reverse,
a song of solidness, of creak,
as if water needed to rehearse
the change of seasons, or to speak
a human tongue in sympathy.
I hum the water's song, the shallow
breath that shatters on the path
in footsteps, startling a deer,
then slide indoors to wood the hearth
and spark an answer to the fear
of winter; a flickering hallow
that scatters the long night's shadow up the wall
and frees me, briefly, from the vixen's numbing call.