Smart’s Brook in Winter

by Russell Rowland

Hillside stream in the winter

Dressed in layers much like us, except
with lengthier robes of ice and snow,
the stream is concealed, though there.
Cold day, yet it means to keep moving.

It has swept away an autumn of leaves,
cleared out jammed tree trunks, even
stripped a moose carcass—year’s work
well done, by nature’s John the Baptist.

From the highway a trail follows: many
footprints, many feet despite the snow.
We seem to need brooks. Attendance
at their running must embolden ours.

That downstream whisper is a tongue
we would like to master. The sparkle
of its cascades leaves us thirsting less.
We admire how it suffers the seasons.

Leashed dogs greet each other—wary,
enthusiastic, always without warfare.
Somehow the brook tames wildness.
Prey and predator often drink together.

We walk it with strangers who at least
have yielding to a brook in common.
Maybe all started at the same spring,
and we’re on our way to the one sea.

Category: Featured, Poetry