An Awakening on Imbolc Day by Richard L. Westheimer

An Awakening on Imbolc Day

Perhaps on this Imbolc, Brighid will ignite some fire in me
—Teo Bishop

Some years Imbolc rings in like a bell.
Some years it slides in, gray, overwhelmed
by day upon day of the same leaden sky. This

year, mourning doves, looking like glowing mangos
in the rising sun, roost high in the bare crown
of the locust, king of the scrub woods.

The tree is a fractal void, black against the blue
blue morning. I am afraid to look through to the dark
behind the punch-cut trunk and limbs yet I peer

in, over the edge of the world
and am awakened by unseen forces, compelled
to order seeds, clean greenhouse trays,

wander the winter brown garden, me
making mental maps of growing things,
the frost heaved ground waiting patiently.

There is no wind today and the doves have gone
leaving only their cooing behind, purring in their dove
tongue, who, who are you, you who

harbor hope? They ask the right question.
The fiercest storms of winter are yet to come.
Spring promises as much cruelty as calm.

So much will be torn by twisting winds,
branches strewn, the late freezes bringing
ruin. And isn’t that the irony of it all. It’s

the tender tips of growing things which
will perish. The tough and barren will
survive and even today when the rising

sun paints the world with promises: relief
from the un-patterned gray, it illuminates
cirrostratus climbing in over the wall

of the western horizon, orange as the doves.
Those wisps will clabber into a dull sheet that will
hover over us, low and ashen, and I will have to incite

myself, unaided by bright skies,
to the working in dirt, sowing seed by seed
until the pot and soil and I are held

by the little seedlings we bring into the world
knowing against knowing that their time
will come to thrive.

by Richard L. Westheimer

Editor’s Note: Vivid imagery, internal rhyme, judicious use of repetition—these are the elements of a well-crafted poem, and this one offers them with skillful profusion.


3 responses to “An Awakening on Imbolc Day by Richard L. Westheimer”

  1. Jerry Krajnak Avatar
    Jerry Krajnak

    A perfect poem to begin a new Autumn Sky season! Seed catalogs arrive daily, green shoots spring out of the soil, and I feel eager to get my hands dirty. Jerry Krajnak

  2. Judith Waller Carroll Avatar

    What a gorgeous poem. And I love the upgrade.

  3. seeker2022 Avatar

    What a lovely tribute to hope and expectation for renewal in the doldrums of winter. Wonderful imagery, indeed, Dick Westheimer.

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