R. G. Bell
Sheets of crystal on morning grass,
Flannel shirts the color of leaves,
Sweaters the color of corn and pumpkin,
Wooly worms crossing the road,
Furry forecasters of a hard winter.
Groans of hard men hauling hay,
Muffled report of rifles in woods,
Chainsaw promising winter heat,
Boughs breaking with weight of fruit,
Ripe prophets of a hard winter.
Smoke of leaves, oak, maple, tobacco,
Steams of soup, coffee, stew,
School bus fumes and Russian tea,
Whiff of cold in northern wind,
Clean composer of a hard winter.
Weight of first blanket on the bed,
Distant warmth of retreating sun,
Thickening fur on an outdoor dog,
Firmness growing in the ground,
Heavy harbinger of a hard winter.
Apples, crackers and sharp gold cheese,
Last grilled hamburger of the season,
Farm-ground sausage, pepper-laced,
Warm yeast bread from an old recipe,
Sure sustainer through a hard winter.
Bring the security of a hay-filled barn,
A warming fire and goal made real.
Crown the end of a summer's work
With needs well met and hopes fulfilled
To carry us through a hard winter.
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