Fathom Mag

Winter Solstice

Published on:
March 13, 2024
Read time:
1 min.
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Dawn brushes pink skies.
Birdbath is hard as iron.
Feathered and furred critters
peek from bushes and evergreens.   
A squirrel digs through snow dust.
Deck cap rails frost glazed.
Bird bowl frozen—a sparrow
perches on the edge
eying a rival’s reflection—
pecks at it, flits away.
I study the spectacle from my kitchen nest.
They’ll fend without my help. Always have. 
Too damn cold to step to the porch for birdseed.

The radio plays In The Bleak Mid-Winter . . .
I sigh, open the sliding-glass door. Breath fogs.
I grab birdseed, step down treacherous stairs, 
pour trails of seed on the cap rails, and fill
a bowl with warm water. All is silent as a stone.
Dashing up, close the door, and soon a Tit lands,
feasts and a Yellow Finch joins. They scatter when
a gluttonous Jay lands, promenades and primps until
an alpha crow alights—Jay zooms to a distant yard. 
I burst the door open; the crow vanishes in chilly haze. 
A Cardinal scavenges for a few last sunflower seeds.
 “If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.”

Peter Venable
Peter Venable has written sacred and secular verse for many decades. He’s appeared in Ancient Paths, Prairie Messenger, The Lyric, The Anglican Theological Review, The Christian Century, The Merton Seasonal, and Windhover. His book Jesus Through A Poet’s Lens is an eBook and print paperback available at Amazon. He is at petervenable.com and on Facebook.

Cover image by Andrik Langfield.

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