You Call This Winter?

You Call This Winter?

Take a hike in the wild during a Missouri winter,
and it’s a crapshoot. Bare branches heavy
with snow and turkey tracks the only impressions
in the white blanket that lies before you,
or t-shirt weather with the sound of rustling leaves
as you scuff them out of your way wondering
what happened to the four inches of snow
that shut things down just last week.

I may not miss the storms of New York’s winters,
but I sure miss the snow of New York’s winters,
where it knows how to fall and stick around
until it decides to fall again. And again.
Where the beauty of driving through a forest
with a blanket of snow can be appreciated
in spite of the inconvenience of slick roads
or the need to clear your windows of frost.

As much as I may appreciate warm spells
that are more frequent than cold, or the need
to shovel the driveway all of three times,
give me a New York winter, any time.

This is my response to the prompt Poetics: The Blizzard of the Self, from Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to speak to winter.


to honor another, lost ~ gogyohka & senryū


roads to travel
to honor another, lost
December’s dark days
once again conspire
to deliver sorrow

I’ll be traveling this week, so I’ll be absent from WordPress, but I should be home by Friday. I’m leaving now, Monday morning, to drive to Buffalo to attend the funeral of the mother of a dear friend I have known since childhood.

batter dropped in oil
much more than simple donut
brings sweet memories


footprints in the snow ~ senryū

footprints in the snow
heading off into nowhere
bring cold weather blues

This senryū is my response to Come Sing With Me!, the prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use at least two song titles from a list of sixteen.
                    Footprints in the Snow (Bill Monroe)
                    Cold Weather Blues (Muddy Waters)

Image source: (artellliii72)

Avian Buffet ~ haiku sequence ~ quadrille

Avian Buffet

fresh bounty
for tufted titmouse
squirrels watch

pecks sunflower seed
on white branch

in a flash of red
on the wing

hungry birds
where no snow gathers
in snowfall


This haiku sequence using a 3-5-3 form is my response to Quadrille #164: Winging It, the prompt from De Jackson (whimsigizmo) at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word wing in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.

Missed, in Any Weather ~ memoir poetry ~ with audio

Missed, in Any Weather

The farthest thing from my mind
when I’m chipping away
at the frozen layer on my driveway
on a chilly, mid-Missouri February morning
that, as usual, has as much rain as snow
is to wish for more of the same.
But here I am on a ninety-six degree day
in August crossing a Target parking lot
as I wade through heat waves
rising from the asphalt that remind me
of that Vegas hospital parking lot
in early June of ’93 after visiting Dad
and thinking he’d be flying home soon –
we know how that worked out –
wishing I could have one of those
ice-crusted snow days. Or better yet,
just one more minute working beside Dad
at Overland Express back in Buffalo
in the ’70s with the snow blowing
between the trailers and across the dock,
his face just as red from the cold
as it would get if he were here with me
on this hot, August Missouri day.

This is my response to Twiglet 290: ice-crusted snow.

As it happens this also meets the challenge for Poetics: Sometimes August isn’t recognized, the prompt from Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Cold Mountain ~ haibun

Cold Mountain

Do not mistake the bear’s stillness for hibernation. Cold and calculating, it will grow larger as it rises on its haunches to maul and swallow any prey it encounters, until it is bigger than any mountain. Always be wary of the bear.

counting icicles
high upon the mountain peak
waiting for a thaw

I was hiking at Runge Conservation Center this afternoon when I read Haibun Monday 2/28/22: Cold Mountain, the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. The temperature was 67º F, but this ice on a small limestone formation was still waiting for a thaw as it sat in the shade. Thus was my haibun response born. (I will admit that thoughts of Ukraine also played a part.)

Snow in My Rear View Mirror ~ haibun

Snow in My Rear View Mirror

Growing up and living for nearly sixty years in Western New York, I’m familiar with inclement weather. From the Pennsylvania border to Buffalo and northwards, lake effect snowstorms are a regular occurrence. Until Lake Erie freezes over, west winds will carry moisture inland from the lake, sometimes burying the area in snow. Once the lake does freeze, snow that accumulates on the ice can be carried inland by the wind. Gusts over 75 miles per hour during the Blizzard of 77, on January 28, 1977, left snowfall up to 100 inches in some areas and drifts as high as 30 to 40 feet, burying some homes and bringing the region to a standstill for five days. Of course, not every storm is that severe, but I’m very familiar with driving in unfavorable conditions.

I left all of that behind (sort of) when I moved to Missouri in 2012. Here, a heavy snowfall is four inches or more, something that might be seen twice a year. Temperatures are always fluctuating, sometimes into the forties and higher, so freezing rain or black ice are just as likely. Barely a week will pass before accumulated snow melts and is gone. It’s 61 degrees as I write this, but there’s a winter storm watch from Tuesday through Friday, and the predicted high for Wednesday is 26 degrees with six to twelve inches of snow expected to fall. Temperatures in the forties by Sunday will take care of that.

I said I left those lake effect storms behind, but that’s not quite true. I still drive back to visit family, and my route parallels the shore of Lake Erie for 200 miles, from Cleveland to Buffalo. Any trip from late-November to March holds the potential for lake effect conditions. Some of my worst white-knuckle driving experiences have been on those trips. Once a year is more than enough for me.

whiteout conditions
on congested motorway
deer watch cars crawl past

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 1/31/22: Winter,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: YouTube (Blizzard of ’77)
~ click image for larger view in new tab ~

Red Cheeks and Laughter

Red Cheeks and Laughter

Across the road there was a lane,
an old logging road that went
nowhere, except uphill. Or down,
if that was where you wanted to go.
And we did, but only in the winter,
when a walk up that hill,
along that simple trail,
ended with a sled ride back down.

Or on a saucer. Or an inner tube.
And the kids loved it. All of them,
because everyone who went down that hill
was a child for the day, even Grandpa.
Sliding, tumbling, crashing
amid red cheeks and joyful laughter.

The last ride down the hill was the best.
It was just a short walk back across the road,
where Grandma waited with hot cocoa
and the inviting warmth of the wood stove.
There was more laughter as mittens and socks
dried above the stove and everyone talked
about their favorite ride down the hill
on those Botsford Hollow holidays.