Sunday, April 20, 2014

Not In Winter

© Steve King
All rights reserved

Footprints in October snow
will never outrun
lengthening shadows.

I may only listen
while winds tear each tree—
leaves in torment;
below, brown grasses
barely move.

I know an old man
who never leaves his room.
He’s become annoyed
at the sound of his own stylus,
cannot think to see.

He has written everything he can,
has lived twenty lives in his mind,
and known all he thought would ever be.

He watches the sun;
listens, too,
hears the world moving,
slow, coming round
to claim its bounty back.

He is willing,
for the times are not his own,
newness gone,
every measure taken
so far as he might reach.


But not just yet, he said to me.

No. Not in winter.

A new poem for the Poetry Pantry 
Poets United 


  1. Not in winter, willing to give way but not yet it seems to me ~ This reminds me of my aging father, not yet willing to die yet not fully living ~

    Wishing you Happy Sunday ~ Happy Easter Steve ~

  2. You painted this man so I could see him...I especially love the "not yet - not in winter" closing.

  3. Not yet. But there will come a time, hopefully of his choosing.

  4. very good piece... I see
    ps: I agree, not this winter :-)

  5. This is just beautiful! The pacing is perfect.

  6. He’s become annoyed
    at the sound of his own stylus,

    I can relate to those lines!

  7. This is such an interesting piece. I have an in-law who is 103 - a really dear person to me--he has lived a very full wonderful life, and of course we know something will happen to him, yet when we get any phone call where there is news of something--my mind, lately at least, has jumped to the words "not now." Here we are in spring--but it is such a cold stressed spring (for me at least) that the thought of that is unbearable.

    Your poem just brought that up but of course, it is much deeper than that--Your first stanza is kind of a synopsis of what comes next--and there is a sense there of the prematurity of the snow, and even of your character's aging--and even with the prematurity, there is not enough time somehow, not when things get to brass tacks. A sense with the character that the writing on the paper, like the footprints on snow, can't go fast enough, even as he feels he's not going anywhere! But he doesn't want to get to THAT destination anyway. So hard to understand Time. Thanks. k.

    1. ps - wonderful thoughtful nuanced poem.

  8. For me, this encapsulates the frustration of a northeast winter, with many deeper layers as well. I think this is my new favorite of yours.