Sonnet for the December Kalends
Welcome, festival and calibration.
Burn, old calendars; we turn to the new,
dry or drunken, with giddy elation,
not noting robins nor needles on yew,
nor how deep winter and thaw must mingle
when sunrise cracks between ribs of bare twigs
and bright breath steams, to shiver and tingle
unmuffled ears. And yet rabbits dance jigs!
The old man with the empty hourglass
lays down his sharp reaping scythe at the last
to coddle the babe. Yet where is the lass
who birthed this new year, and the one just past?
She’s right beneath your nose, friends, at your feet,
and their father’s the sun, whose light tastes sweet!
Sonnet for the first January New Moon
Hail, bright crescent, at tryst of thaw and frost,
when morning’s robins hide from midnight snow.
The tread of young deer in new mud seems lost
as ice on babbling brook starts to slow
life’s swift pace when sun runs his shortest course.
Cardinal leaps tree to tree, faster than darts;
squirrel chases his love without remorse,
and rabbit races hard from distant parts
to a cousin’s warren by gray meadow.
Hawk perches high, where wood meets barren lawn
and owl parliaments caucus in shadow,
debating from early dusk to late dawn
their licenses for winter predation,
and the line between feast and starvation.