Poetry Sunday: Mad December

Here we are at last at the first day of December - last month of the year. What will the month bring? "Sickly grey" days of "puddling mud of endless dreary rain?" Or maybe bright, sunny days with clear blue skies and brisk temperatures, the last days of autumn before winter truly begins? Well, that is to be determined, isn't it? Thirty-one days of the unknown lie ahead of us. Let's make the most of them!  

Mad December      
by Thomas Horton

This is not yet the howling winter
Huffing its bluster hither and yon
Heaving its intense fury
In swells of former flurries
Gathered like an army of tiny invaders
Forming a carpet to choke the life
From all they touch

No, this is the sickly grey
Of a desolate late autumn
That has forgotten
The beauty of her childhood
Gone the leaves of fire
Against crisp blue skies
And harvested bounty
In beige fields where
Children enjoyed hayrides
And picked the perfect pumpkin
And banished their shivers
With warm spiced cider
By a crackling bonfire

All that fall fun
Lies long fallow
In the puddling mud
Of endless dreary rain
Drizzling without romance or conviction
From the bleak dishwater sky
A dismal half-day
Heralding too early
A night too cold
Too dark
And too long

This is December
And she is jealous
Of a spring she will never see
And petulantly she spits
On the barren ground
And curses the evergreens
Whose life she cannot usurp
Her peevish venom
Barely failing to freeze
And form the beauty
Of a crystalline icicle

I keep watch on December
Because I do not trust her
After the first frost
She will relent
And the quiet comeliness
Of the dim season
Will be upon us
We will soften
And our Yuletide cheer
And merrymaking
Will lull us into forgetting
The slashing pain
Of these hopeless days
And so I bite my lip
And cut my eyes
And pray
That bitter mad December
Will spare me
Again this year


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