Red on a Cold Day

Cardinal in a icy-branched bush


Not so cold today, but colorless: gray sky, gray trees, white land. Reminds me of a poem I wrote twenty years ago. (I am not so romantic now.)


Toneless light
washes my morning face.
Looking in my mirror and
thinking of you,
I bind up my hair
against the hard edges of the day.

Cold winter morning
sharp against my cheek,
I lock the door, turn the key,
you tucked neatly
in a corner of my mind.
Rich icon confined in a sigh.

Early spring flowers
at my feet spark color
into a monotone world.
As do you.
The depths of your being
fill me with dreams.

My footsteps echo hollow
on frost-etched pavement.
Sparkling brilliance,
rose red petals,
velvet in my mind.
You in the dark places,

I had never thought
to come to this,
my world of pale yellow boundaries
edged in black.
A child’s coloring book
of circumstance and tradition.
My crayons, as my life
confined within the lines.

Now passion colors what I do.
Defrosting the refrigerator
I thought of Samoa.
And yesterday
I crossed the street
without looking both ways.
No more gold stars.

Your bold, disorderly soul
has turned my thoughts
to glazing pots and being
seventeen with eyes
the color of rain,
reality turning on a single note
sung high beyond my hearing.

I pause, now at the edge
of interleaving myself
with the dull gray sky
seamless where it meets the earth.
Tree branches in black silhouette
forming graceful lines
draw my eye upward.
A lone cardinal bursts into song,
shattering the sameness.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Thomas Davis
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 22:39:46

    Wow! Twenty years ago or not, this is a stunning poem! The language is superb, and the reflections on youth and young love are not sentimental, but passionate and reasoned–quite a feat for twenty years ago. You were obviously a poet already back then.


    • cleoxcat
      Feb 02, 2012 @ 23:41:05

      Thank you. I was involved at the time with a poetry group on a “conferencing” system called “Bix,” sponsored by Byte magazine and the discussions were stimulating and exciting and the joy of putting words together opened up all this passion…


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