An iron, fissured sky, laden and chill,
Crowds the frozen crowns of the beech trees, stark
With morning frost, whilst a knuckled tendril
Of ivy roots in the famished mulch, ice-dark.
Greenfinch, dazed by the harsh shove of the wind,Hunch among branches, greedily scanning
The ice-clutched ground for withered husks or rind,
Frantic to staunch their hunger until evening.
In the blanched, frosty leaf-trash among shrubsA finch, puffed, big-eyed against the cold, falls;
In a single spasm it dies. Fox cubs
Under the moon will wolf it with spiteful calls.
The autochthonic bulk of the wind gripsThe beech crowns, rocking them into wheezing
Arabesques. The finches plunge with the dips
And rise, clinging with bloodless claws to the freezing
Branches. It has been like this immeasurably:The birds feeding and dying, breeding, drawn
To the high trees and inconsolably
Suffering. After long hours the wind’s brawn
Drove off the cloud and a perishing blueSky highlighted each pugnacious finch, discrete,
Unique, starving, the indomitable clue
Of being; this solidity which cannot cheat
Itself, fulfilled in sorrow: the ice-stiff sod,The wind, the birds – this is the love of God.
====================© February 2012