Literary Hook: Enjoying a ‘Winter Spell’

Christine Swanberg
Christine Swanberg

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

Winter Spell

for Lynda Hull

When Venus glides by Mars, and seven planets

stitch a diamond necklace

under Capricorn in the southwest twilight,

and a tangerine moon rises

like a Phoenix through murky clouds, find

a Depression Glass vase. Imagine the Italian

midwife who kept in near her canary

long before you were born. Listen to them.

Recite all the blessings of the year,

even those you didn’t wish for. Especially those.

Place orange Bittersweet and a few Chinese lanterns

in the vase, invoking lost loves

that have brought you to this cold enchantment.

Lay the vase on a window sill where

the moon cast long shadows through the trees

and a cat with one good eyes might sleep

curled in a grapevine basket

next to The Dreamer’s Dictionary from Good Will.

Find the last five dreams you can

remember, reading their meanings softly.

Arrange them into a story that begins with

Once upon a time in the Land of…

and ends with Lived happily ever after.

Tell the story to someone you long for.

Then, looking out the window, remember

footprints in hard-packed snow: cat, deer,

rabbit, raccoon, crow, sparrow.

Remember them as you brew hot tea:

mint, chamomile, and rosehips

in a Nippon teapot from Salvation Army.

As the tea steeps, find a ring of moon stone,

opal, or coral and read woolen scarf.

Wearing them, mix a potion of pepper, nut-

meg and curry in a wooden bowl.

Sprinkle in the doorway and sneeze thrice.

Sing a song from childhood. Any song

will do. Return to the tea, adding

cream and honey before you drink it slowly.

When steam fogs the window, no evil

shall enter where only the enchanted live

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet. She received the Lawrence E. Gloyd Community Impact Award at the 2012 Rockford Area Arts Council State of the Arts Awards.

From the Jan. 15-21, 2014, issue

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