Winter Journey

How can I describe, my beloved one,
The mountain’s glory in the morning sun?

How can I tell you of the silent glade
In the snowy depths of the forest shade?

And how shall I capture for you the spell
Of the crystal showers in the frozen dell?

Schloss Kassegg.
February 1985

Away, away

The geraniums are in
And the logs are piled high,
The chestnuts are gathered
And across the grey sky
The wild ducks are flying
Away, away,
We’ll come back in springtime,
Some day, some day!


A robin sat on the roof
And sang his heart out
As we loaded wet concrete
Into the barrow,
Shovel by painful shovel,
And pushed it away
To lay the wall’s foundations.
With two tons shifted
Since the lorry unloaded
And two still to go,
We were in no mood to sing,
But robin sang on
Into the grey afternoon.
Our hearts were lighter
Even if our loads were not.

23 December 1971

February walk

The shrill two note song
Of the skylark insisted
Spring had come early,
But I knew that the
Blue of the sea and the sky
were today’s only.

9 February 1968

A Winter Blessing

Before the sun is up, a blackbird sings
High in the branches of the winter oak.
The day begins in song, so may it end!
And all your waking hours be filled with joy!

February 1990

In the high pasture

In the high pasture
The winter snows are melting,
The streams carry my love
Down to you in the valley.

For Judy, March 1981
Schloss Kasseg, Austria

First winter

The year is still raw
In spite of the shoots
And the thin sunshine.
The cows lie behind
Brown bramble hedges,
Safe from the sharp wind.
On his daily walk
My son turns apple
Red and chubby hands
Turn purple, scorning gloves.
Forefinger and thumb
Point to sky and birds
And dogged walkers.
Everything receives
Mention in his list
Many times over,
In case his mother.
Both ears well muffed,
Should fail to listen.

7th March 1971