Once there was a time
when the snow finally fell,
spreading like diamonds across the yard,
back when winter was a reason
to light the fires and embrace one another.
I counted the days
through the spring and summer,
watching the flowers bloom,
seeing people shed their clothes,
feeling the warmth cut through me.
I counted the weeks
through the falling leaves
watching them sweep my path,
seeing them blow casually away,
feeling how life fled from me.
And winter returned
as forever I prayed it would:
when all the birds take flight
yet there is one that remains,
willing to brave the cold
and shiver to death rather than escape,
wanting to believe rather than deny.
—Stephen Swartz (© 2007)
[Stephen likes to write about winter. His most wintry novels are A Beautiful Chill and A Girl Called Wolf.]