Literary Hook: Poem: Casting a ‘Winter Spell’

Christine Swanberg
Christine Swanberg

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

Winter Spell

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 midwife who kept it 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 eye 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 red 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.

Published in The Alleluia Tree (Puddin’head Press), The Read Lacquer Room (Chiron Press), and Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity (Wind Publications).

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 Dec. 10-16, 2014, issue

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