A winter dream

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He lived the worsted winter months, content

and warm, beside his glowing coals. His walls

protected him from prairie winds that would,

if wild, leave waning hearts in withered hides

of all who stood exposed. But here, beneath

the wind, away from stinging snows, in close

to his own fire, he sang a song of thanks.

He pressed his hands against the earth to feel

its quiet force, to touch the womb of his

own strength, to suck the scent of this, his home.

A dawn arrived so crisp and clear the light

beyond his walls crept in and kissed his eyes

awake. The sun caressed his face and drew

him out, it seemed, with whispers soft and new.

The light was unlike any he had seen:

so brilliant, pure and sure it hurt his eyes;

so beautiful and strong he could not look

away. He stretched his arms toward the sun

as if he meant to hold it close, embrace

the heat and press the light against his breast.

“I waited long for you. I saw you in

my dreams. I knew I’d love you when you came.”

He closed his eyes. “And now that you are here,

I know you will not stay with me. Your walk

along my path is short; your journey’s pace

is swift. I know that you have danced across

the mountain tops, that you have run untamed

with horses on the distant plains, that you

have heard the secret songs of streams unknown.

I know you long for them again, so go.”

He bowed his head and smiled. “In dreams, I’ve held

you near a hundred times and not been burned.

Before you came, I touched your flame, embraced

your fire and felt the life that flows from you.”

He raised his face toward the sky again.

“I know it cannot be. Your touch would mean

the end of me.” He shook his head. “I have

no want for life to live a dream or dreams

to come to life: to see your light today

is sweeter even than the dream. Enough.”

He lived the worsted winter months, content

and warm, beside his glowing coals. His walls

protected him from prairie winds that would,

if wild, leave waning hearts in withered hides

of all who stood exposed. But here, beneath

the wind, away from stinging snows, in close

to his own fire, his heart was full of thanks.

His fingers wrapped around his flute and lips

blew happy songs of love: for light, for heat,

for hints of spring that dance within a dream.

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