First Sign of Winter

The first sign of winter
is the awe in the sound
of geese flying south,
the fear of being left
alone.

The whole earth is an ear
straining like mad to listen
to every last flap of wing
just two beats ahead of
the storm.

It’s too great a burden.
The heaviness of those migrants
settles through soft air uncushioned,
crushing me into the thin sheet
of earth.

My time now will be spent
in this snow world, this frost,
straining to stand, to stand
while the birdless sky pushes me
back down.

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2 Comments on “First Sign of Winter”

  1. Simone Says:

    Carroll, I like where this poem ends up. I appreciate how “winter” is tied into a personal season or moment for the speaker. The bookend stanzas can be compared in different ways, but I particularly like how they both evoke images of the presence and absence of flight, or, even more, the presence of absence or vice versa. After all, the poem is called “First Sign of Winter,” and the word “sign”, to me, is the most important word in this regard. The only actual act in this poem seems to be its’ concluding act of “pushing,” while the rest of what happens seems to hint at conclusion, or stand as “signs” of the poem’s impending ending moment. Anyway, nice work.

    • Carroll Boswell Says:

      What I like most about your comments is how you draw me into reading my own poems in a way I never thought of. You are a good critic. Thanks.


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