December 10th: A Poem by Vermont's Poet Laureate | Poetry | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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December 10th: A Poem by Vermont's Poet Laureate



I saw the first cardinal this morning in the snow

outside my window at the feeder and was tempted

to call him my heart for his color, shape

and hunger, but no, not yet; rather, little red bandit

at home in the north where the sky conspires

with the cold to form a blue so deep you can see

straight through, where somehow the voles dig deep

enough to survive the frost and the fox grows thin

but lives on bones till March, where the deer eat cones

and bears digest themselves in the dark, where all

things live, in fact, with the fear that they might die

tonight from the terrible cold and lack, although

they have no word for it, only the songs they sing

we call the music of life. I watched the cardinal

devour seeds by the dozens and then fly off, no less

diminished, to grow hungry again in a matter of minutes.

To remain on the feeder for a couple of seconds

as a ghost of the bird that shames the winter.

The original print version of this article was headlined "December 10th"