- Man pleads guilty but mentally ill in 2013 murder
- Telephone, computer network outages at 22 Rockford schools
- Byron native selected as Sailor of the Year for Navy Band Southwest
- Illinois Tollway awards $337 million in contracts, sets budget
- 44 earn bachelor’s degrees at Saint Anthony College of Nursing
- Goodwill opens Donation Express site on Perryville
- Rock Valley College to manage TechWorks program
- University of Illinois at Chicago names chancellor
- Salvation Army to distribute food, toys to nearly 2,000 families
- American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act signed into law
Literary Hook: Enjoying a ‘Winter Spell’
By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet
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