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Poems

Jack Frost Endeavors to Keep Winter

Jack Frost, the personification of winter, speeds forth in an icicle train to the north pole to stop spring from coming. To stop spring, Frost must keep winter’s candle lit.

Frederic Edward Church - Red and Green Northern Lights Over Seascape
Frederick Edwin Church – Aurora Borealis, 1865

Through the snowy passes
Hurtles an old and hoary train.
It dashes past crevasses
Along the cold moraines.

Its transit is annuary—
Only once in ice and snow—
Only deep in January
Is the Icicle Train prepared to go.

And how extraordinary
This Icicle Train is to see
It seems imaginary
As it curves ’round glaciers and the scree.

Its locomotive is wrought of iron,
Embellished with curls and coils
With raveled figurines of wire on
Its smokestack, which blows and boils.

Its cars are made of stained glass
Each are as vitreous as the sea
The glass is mullioned in fine brass
With designs of spruce and cedar trees.

The conductor is an old man
Jack Frost is his true name
For longer than mankind’s lifespan
He has steered this venerable train.

He wears a jester’s cap of black and white
With five points that have five bells
And he wears a cloak that’s black as night
With gloves and shoes as white as shells.

He drives the train into the north
Where the bears and walrus live
Into dark lands where few rove forth,
Where the cold does not forgive.

What does the conductor seek there?
It’s a secret you should know.
He is searching with intent care
For a faint and feeble glow.

He seeks the flame of winter
Which gutters night by night,
The flame lies furthest hinter
Beneath dancing aurora light.

The flame of winter shudders
With each approaching spring
And when at last it gutters
The earth begins to green.

But Frost wants winter eternal—
A world of snow and ice—
So he strives to cease the vernal
Tidings by this particular device.

For if he can keep that cold flame
Burning in the north
Then he will meet his own aim
And spring shall not come forth.

So the Icicle Train speeds onwards
Through the snow and ice and frost
To thwart the coming season
And to render summer lost.

Frost stokes the boiler’s fire
He throws in wood and coal
So the flames in it lick higher
As he steams on toward his goal.

But the winter’s flame has dwindled so far
Even as he comes
The fire flickers beneath a bell jar
As the locomotive hums.

Jack Frost speeds across a prairie
Of flat ice and winter’s snow
Across dazzling ice that’s glary
Toward the paltry distant glow.

Now he’s very near it
And Frost will fan its flame
But the candle is but half-lit,
Or half-dead to say the same.

And then the fire does choke
And a tragedy strikes for him
The fire becomes a feathered smoke
The flame dies within the glim.

And although no word is spoken
There comes a thundering crack of ice
As winter’s spell is broken
And spring is taken from its glacial vise.

The Icicle Train must go back
For another long, green year
And Jack Frost with his coat black
Must take his bow and disappear.

But this is not forever—
Every year he tries his worth—
And in eras when Frost was quick and clever
We’ve had a snowball earth.

But this year he’s been frustrated
And the north sounds with his rage
For Frost will never be placated
Till we live in a perpetual ice age.

Categories
Poems

Jake Attempts to Put a Santa Claus Hat on a Nineteen Hundred Pound Bucking Bull

IMG_6070

It was the night before Christmas
And way out in the field
Jake had an idea
Which held marvelous appeal!

Jake said, “Come to the next pasture—
I’ve got an idea for a dare!
We’ll visit Farmer Bixby’s old stable;
He keeps his bucking bull there!”

So the four friends marched over,
Through the snow and the fog,
Past barbed wire fences
And over iced logs.

With each step they crunched
The cold, glittering snow
And steam rose from their mouths
With each breath they did blow.

There in the distance
With not a light from within
Stood the old battered structure
Which kept the bucking bull penned.

At first there was no sign
Of the great bucking bull
Then they smelled on the clear air
The scent of that huge animal.

Then at last they saw it!
It lay curled in deep sleep,
Like a monstrous black boulder
On the far side of the keep.

Jake rubbed his hands happily
And said, “This will be a neat trick—
I’ll put my Santa Claus hat on the bull,
And he’ll be a bovine Saint Nick!”

His friend Chris was the calm one,
And he said, “Well, for my part,
I think that bull is a mean one—
He gored my old dog through her heart!”

But Jake’s other friends shushed Chris,
And they cheered for Jake’s plan,
Saying that this Christmas spirit,
Was the best one for a man!

You needed no bells or whistles
Nor flouncy decorative halls!
You just needed good buddies,
And a big pair of balls!

So Jake slipped over the railing
And into the pen,
As his friends they grew quiet
And looked on with great grins.

Jake slowly crossed over
The ground of the sty,
And he was quite near the bull
When it opened one eye!

Jake froze on his tiptoes,
With the Santa hat in his hand
And he murmured some calm words
That the bull did not understand.

The bull sprang to its feet,
And it started to run—
Moving quite quickly
For something weighing a ton!

Now Jake started to run
Like a sprinter, world class,
When the bull lowered his head
And put his horns up Jake’s ass!

Jake’s friends looked on in horror
And they grimaced in fright
When, with a flick of its head,
The bull made Jake take flight!

Jake went sailing and screaming
Through the dark sky
And landed in cow pies
On the far side of the sty.

His friends they raced to him,
For he moved not at all.
They were sick to their stomachs
From witnessing his fall.

The bucking bull watched them,
Snorted, and pawed the cold ground,
Then it turned in a circle,
And plopped right back down.

It lay on its haunches,
Relaxed in its pen,
Nearly completely assured
That he wouldn’t be bothered again.

Jake’s four friends they reached him,
And found him hurt but not dead,
He grinned up at them weakly, saying,
“The best place for that hat is my head!”