Posted by: John Looker | 2 February, 2010


This poem is a response to the arrival of winter; there seems to be a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder about it, I’m afraid!

Since the photo was taken, we’ve had plenty of snow. I might manage a second poem about that; we’ll see.


Winter arrives, bringing a sense of loss.

This is clear in the woods and the fields where trees now stand
denuded, mugged,

under a colourless sky.
Familiar birds are missing too, flown to the sun:
the fast set,
the cosmopolitan crowd.

Winter imposes itself like a coup d’état.

Even in the city : the last of the drifting crunchable leaves,
deemed unsightly,
have all been vacuumed away,
and passers-by, with collars up and faces down,
like fugitives
withdraw into themselves.

Winter. Curfew. But we have our memories still.

Here, where the black umbrellas flow through the streets to work,
summer visitors
had knelt on the grass for the camera;
they waited in lines at the door of museums with the patience of fishermen;
settled like lizards
to sip their coffees in the sun.

Winter’s decree is here to be enforced,

but nothing’s rewritten,
nothing erased.

© John Stevens 2010


  1. I had to return here to read the first of the winter poems (having already read the second). again, this is fine writing. You use varying length to highlight the stanzas nicely. The analogies in the last stanza are superb. Not only is the poem well-done from a mechanical (technical) point of view, but it’s artistry is well above par. Good job!


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