Longing for the Winter Sun

Photograph by Harald Illsinger (c) 2015

                                                          Photograph by Harald Illsinger (c) 2015

Ever since I began this blog in late July, 2014, I’ve noticed how often I am inspired by beautiful photographs I come across. Word Press photography blogs are some of my favorites, but photographs appear elsewhere, too. Harald Illsinger’s beautiful nature photographs never fail to dazzle his fans and friends, and that includes me. This picture above is one he labeled, ‘Longing for Winter Sun Light.’

Mid-winter can be dreary, dark, depressing for so many of us. This picture is the antidote to all of that. The colors are so brilliant that our eyes can’t stop looking at this picture without murmuring something about how magical it is or how much like a painting it is. This is one photograph I would love to have sitting before me at my writing desk. Thank you, Harald, for allowing me to use this brilliant picture. Your elegant Viennese light is very special indeed.

Longing for the Winter Sun

river running roughly
winter chill set in

deep, deep
into the bones

waiting for warmth,
cold winter light

sun frozen in place,
color splashed

across the water;
the swans are quiet,

now nestled deep
in the grasses,

this simple knowing
when land offers

respite, relief
from wild waves

and frigid ripples,
river running deep


Many thanks to photographer, Harald Illsinger, for allowing me to use his beautiful photograph, ‘Longing for Winter Sun Light’ (c) 2015)

Remembering Winter Wash Days

Laundry Day  by Andrew Wyeth

Laundry Day
by Andrew Wyeth

How many of you readers remember the scent of clothes and sheets dried outside in summer? That fragrance is something you never forget. All the fabric softeners in the world can’t duplicate it. In our busy world clothes dryers are something we all use. I can’t imagine hanging clothes out to dry at my stage of life. However, while we are living in London, our flat has a nice washer/dryer combination unit. British machines are very difference from American ones. This one is smaller and takes much, much longer to run a cycle. The dryer often leaves clothes slightly damp. Luckily the flat is well equipped and we have two small folding laundry hangers where I can hang things out to finish drying. I don’t mind doing this at all. It reminds me of my childhood when we always hung laundry outside out of necessity. Even in cold, cold weather.

The following poem was written a few years back for a prompt on PoetsOnline (see http://www.poetsonline.org) about laundry. While several poets chose the metaphorical allusions of hanging one’s laundry out or dirty laundry, the prompt evoked in me a sharp image of having to scramble to pull half-frozen clothing off the line before the snow came.

laundry in winter


On winter wash days, those on the cusp
of warmth, we hung out the clothes
with numb fingers, feeling the curtain
of clouds closing in.

Those were the days when the sun
often hid, and the cold never left at all.

Fabric froze hard, and dresses
and shirts grew solid and stiff.
Rows of sheets, towels and clothes
waved wildly, like pages of a book
flapping in the wind.

In late afternoon, we took it all down,
clothespins snapping shut as each piece
was pulled, placed in the wicker
basket and taken inside.

The darkness closed in early
those mid-winter days, the
evening star sometimes rising
before the icy moon.

(c) 2009, Mary Kendall

wicker laundry basket

Frosted Rosebud

(Photograph © 2014 by Harald Illsinger)

(Photograph © 2014 by Harald Illsinger)

Frosted rosebud
caught in the night,

Awakening to the fog
of a December dawn.

This sweet pale rosebud
delicately iced over,

Thin slick of frost
lightly brushed on

As if an angel chose
to paint, capturing

The morning’s canvas
where season changes        

To season, autumn
turning into winter,

Short days giving in
to long nights of silence

As your fragile calyx
gives you up to the day.

old_pocket_watch_buried_1774093Many thanks to photographer Harald Illsinger for allowing me to use his beautiful photograph, ‘Frosty Morning,’ (c) 2014)

Due North: A Winter Poem

Due North © 2014 by Isotell

Due North © 2014 by Iosatel

There are nights in the winter
once the leaves have fallen away,
when sometimes I wake in the dark,
hearing the distant, plaintive sound

of a single train a few miles away
as it crosses over a country road
or maybe it’s to warn off deer
that pause too long on the track.

The train travels due north,
and in the blackness of the night
the train’s dark sounding
brings back fragmented images
of my childhood life up north.

North, where winter’s silver skies
are layered in clouds most
of the year, and where snow
begins to fall early and deep.

North, where my family lived
in the rust belt of Lake Erie,
where strong winds raced across
the lake with bone-chilling cold.

The lake effect meant snowstorms
that went on for hours, even days
on end. Times when all of us gathered
together happily, knowing school
would be cancelled the next day.
Night was peaceful back then.

In the morning, we’d make our
way through the thigh high snow
and help shovel the walk, leaving
tall tunnels of snow on either side.

Our boots would crunch on frozen
snow, fingers painfully cold, but
that never stopped us from a snowball
fight or playing king of the mountain,
or sledding, tumbling, rolling in snow,

or making lovely snow angels
all over the yard. Those were the
carefree days of childhood, when
we didn’t worry about time or the
future or much of anything.

And for a while the thick snow
continued to fall, covering the tracks
of cars, birds and anything else
that dared to wander outside
on those interminable winter days.

Now, no longer in the north,
I lie in bed remembering such
simple times, times of being together
as we coasted down the snow hills,
all six of us tucked in tightly together

until halfway down when the toboggan
shifted and just after the pull to the left,
we capsized, all of us scattered down the hill,
laughter ringing out so loud as we fell,
each of us ready to give it a go again.

Tobagganing in the Snow

Tobagganing in the Snow

My thanks to the photographer, Iosatel, for use of the photograph, Due North, which appeared on his blog, The Obvious and the Hidden, 03/11/2014