Literary Hook: A poem for February, ‘the month for love’

February is the month for love. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Come celebrate with a poetry reading at Barnes & Noble, Feb. 9, 7 p.m. The reading will feature three local poets, Barbara Santucci, Pastor James Roberts and myself. We will be reading poems on the theme of love. We hope to see you there.

The Rock River Times is pleased to present the final honorable mention in the 2006 Rock River Poetry and Prose Contest. Several excellent writers from the Rock River Valley placed in the contest. We were pleased to accept 10 honorable mentions in prose and 10 honorable mentions in poetry.

Barbara Santucci is a local writer and artist whose children’s books include Abby’s Chairs, Loon Summer and Anna’s Corn. Her poetry has appeared in Korone, Mid-America Review, Chiron and others.

Here is a poem for February. It is both a love poem and seasonal. Enjoy!

Late February

Snow, white and crunchy under foot,

a blanket over frozen cranberry bogs,

icicles hanging on birch branches

like slender glass ornaments,

wood smoke pouring from my cabin’s chimney,

a fat hare bolting across my path.

Footfalls measure the distance from

clanking phones, newspapers and dirty dishes,

while the wind sooths the creases on my brow,

creases hewn deeper with each year.

A cardinal trills after its mate.

Its song swells inside my chest

as I recall my husband’s hair,

gray-dusted, and beloved.

Spying a robin feather, frozen at the base of a pine,

I gently brush away the icy womb surrounding it.

A perfect wet feather emerges

like the green promise of April.

Holding this feather,

I imagine flying over ice-tipped fields.

The feather—a compass in my hand,

leading to the home of our first garden,

then on to the yard where we planted two red bud trees,

one for each daughter, then on to the cabin

where he waits with freshly brewed coffee.

Smiling now, my footsteps fall lighter

as I place the feather in my pocket,

and open the door.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet who has written several books of poetry and formerly wrote a column called “The Writer’s Garret” for this newspaper.

From the Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2007, issue

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