The Passing Year - Poem by Les Derbyshire
This is a very English poem, inspired by my Dorset village.
The hedgehog and the toad are gone to rest;
All breath suspended, life traded for survival;
The silent forest wears a shroud
And mourns the passing of the year,
The meadow sheds its coat of many colours.
Old John forsakes the highway, seeks the barn
And we turn in upon ourselves as though we might deny
The last dark remnant of the year.
The lamp spills out its light across the frozen lane
And fire-side voices from the inn weave tales
Of winters past to keep alive
Their legends saved from long ago.
The shepherd and the cowman turn their collars
To cheat the spiteful wind, and head for home.
The children's snowman grins its welcome in the yard
And supper beckons from the stove.
The dark days pass; the village wakens. Cautiously
We steal a glance from deep inside ourselves
To wonder at the sun-roused meadow
Rehearsing colours it once knew.
Old friends return to fill again the dawn with song,
Among the trees the life-blood newly rises,
The waking hedgerow tries a gown of freshest green,
Old John along the lane is seen.
(© Les Derbyshire, February 2009)
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