David Morley on December

A Boy Casting Snow on Winter Barley
A variation of Paul Celan
The months are hairs combed over each other, or crushed
papers in a cellar. December is growing, fur on my lip.
December’s the hair on a monk’s fingers, a book pulled open,
a boy throwing snow at the first winter crops. Your hair is twisted up;
it is dark and it makes me imagine shells or cloud-shells, a boat
nudging into a rainy lake. A boat, a book pulled open or over,  
fear, a shrew squirming in my fingers… December’s black hook.
December’s lake water.  Can I sing? Can I live through this winter?
A small lyric on my palm. I stand on the shore of a lake.
As far as a boat may be rowed, the colour of aspens
colourless by night as I grow in shade and my age deepens.
I speak of loving you as I speak to you about hands,
shells or clouds. I push the boats with my fingers and they nod
in our bloodstreams, lovers crushed together, or clouds
heaped in a downpour. Walking from the forest I find myself
necklaced with bared hands. December is gaining on me.

*David Morley ’s new book is Enchantment. His poetry has won 14 awards.
A Boy Casting Snow on Winter Barley is from his previous collection The Invisible Kings (a PBS Recommendation.) His ‘writing challenges’ podcasts are among the most popular literature downloads on iTunes worldwide. He writes for The Guardian and Poetry Review.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *