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Winter's beginning

I walk into winter
This time,
The leaf-bare trees
Have a simplicity,
The chill
A familiarity.


I shall make nothing of,
The fantasy, the fairytale,
The illusion, that is Christmas,
All that it offers,
And all that it entails,
Its mania, effort and rush,
Its performance and parade,
Its stories, symbols and icons,
The inescapable pestering and demand,
Its invasion
At every corner, every angle,
Its all-pervasive consumerism
That pulls, grabs and claws at you,
The unfaceable isles
Of human impatience, irritability
And edginess,
The films of again and again,
The "popular" music
That scrapes at the nerves,
Jangly and persistent,
And so uniquely irritating,
The reds of the wine,
The glamour
And the parties,
The excess of those
Who already have more,
The once-a-year generosity
And “goodwill to all mankind”
That is so quick to fade, it seems, 
Into new-year alcohol
And forgetfulness. 

And I shall take from it
The smells
Of wood burning,
Of the cold night air,
So cold
As to almost have a taste to it,
And of sandalwood, chestnuts, cinnamon,


And the profundity of the city, finally still
As the streets are left empty
And paths, passage-ways,
Deep in frost,
Glisten, silent,


And with these few gifts,
And in the stillness and the emptiness,
I shall turn,
Turn once more
To the in-breath,
And dig deeper,
For gold.


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