Winter comes. The leaves must bind their thoughts
to now, or too soon leave the branch.

Well, indeed…

Where is my commitment? Placed in overlays?
One facing forward and beneath that,
one facing back?
One fine and bright but beneath
are winter’s trees and rocks,
winter’s shadows, winters tracks?
I am the only life here.
Winter says, “Don’t go.”
I say I must.

She plays her light for all she’s worth.
Her clothes of ice and crystal
mesmerize, and my eyes flicker.
She fascinates, she changes shape,
she weaves and draws and her snakes sleep
but she never, never, ever does.
She’s another, other, thing, entirely…


Hands build, slam boards together,
hammer, hammer and all the woods
and the woods’ tall gods watch,
mouths iced over, eyes aglitter,
snapping tight to never-was, almost,
when at some whisper those hands stop,
drop boards, clench hammers.

The man straightens, turns to face her
feels terror between heartbeats enter.
Winter makes Her presence felt, and neuters.
All contracts, signed, on file in Memphis
as of this moment, null
as of this moment, void
the boards, the lumber pile,
the pick-up truck can go to hell.

Her face shows now, she snarls,
her lips crack and avalanche
and earthquake tell
no wrath hath Hell, like Winter.
No face, like hers unmasked.

(Across the valley a churchbell tumbles,
church blood freezes, church feet stumble)

You should not have looked.
You should have stayed asleep.

You could have trusted me too see you safely into Spring…

the breath is drawn from me

…YOU KNOW TOO MUCH!! She screamed.


Now, in this rooming house in Memphis,
summer outside, summer in.
Bare walls, and bare bulb’s brilliance
black and purple paint my windows.

She’ll come again. She’ll shatter them.
She’ll take this ceiling, pull the plaster,
pull the lattice till the walls burst
at her sudden, measured, focused vacuum
but I’ll be gone.
She got the man downstairs last night,
tomorrow she’ll get John.

If I didn’t have the Sight, the gift
that came to me the night she turned,
I’d lie here, I’d watch tv. I’d be a part
of foolish life and foolish art.
I’d talk of other things than endings.

But I am hers, as all are.
I speak to measure time,
to pull and stretch it.
If it knots when I drop it
someone else
will have to shake
the kinks out.

This entry was posted in memphis, poetry, stories, Uncategorized, winter. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to winter

  1. Fitch says:

    The beginning really grabs me … leaves binding thoughts coupled with questions of commitment. Very nice!


  2. suburbanlife says:

    “I’d talk of other things than endings.” “If it knots when I drop it someone else will have to shake the kinks out.” This speaks volumes about Winter being like Death. Very powerful, compelling poetry! G


  3. marlowe44 says:

    “I speak to measure time, to pull and stretch it.” I like that line. Even though we are stuck in the Now, it itself morphs and changes. Now it is Fall. Now it is Winter. Some of the Nowdays gave us a clue She was coming. I love the POV shift to the “rooming house in Memphis”. At first I thought this stanza was a separate poem, which it is, but it is also a coda for the first section; powerful imagery and wonderful juxtaposition. It occurs to me that we also measure time with writing, with painting and sketching, with procreation, with changing diapers. Is Art for posterity, or for soul food?



  4. rick mobbs says:

    Hi Glenn,
    I was rewriting this thing as you were writing your comment. Couldn’t keep my hands off. It has been a while since I posted anything of my own but it has suddenly turned cold here and this one came to mind. You are right, I believe, about the ways we measure time. Art is for soul food. Sometimes it survives the vicissitudes and posterity archives or enjoys it, sometimes both.

    Thanks suburbanlife. I guess winter is kind of like death but here I was just writing out my passing melancholy.

    I appreciate your comment, Fitch,and by the way, your blog is hot. (readers beware)


  5. annieepoetry says:

    This is good Rick. My. I’d pick out my favorite part but it would be the whole poem, except the part where winter talks,

    You could have trusted me too see you safely into Spring.
    The breath is drawn from me…
    YOU KNOW TOO MUCH!! she screamed.”

    You could poetry that up a bit more. The rest of the poem is so good, that part lacks the sway and shock of the rest.

    You continue to impress me.


  6. rick mobbs says:

    Hmm…annie, I think you’re right. Out it goes. Thanks.


  7. marlowe44 says:

    The thing about poetry and prose of our own is that we can continue to come back and tweek it, and change it, and blue pencil it. I actually liked the dialogue bit that Winter shared. I posted “winter” on FFTR, and found an incredible painting of Winter Herself by Tom Bagshaw.



  8. I think the poem is incredible. I like the dialogue, too. Think about it before you decide to take it out.


  9. johemmant says:

    Yes, this is incredible, really incredible. I agree with Joyce on the dialogue.


  10. rick mobbs says:

    okay, mr wishy washy here. I’ll try it back in. I get dizzy when I edit.


  11. annieepoetry says:

    I don’t know if it needs to get cut out, just tweaked a bit. As it is, the dialogue doesn’t surprise me. It knocks me out the poem.

    But you decide. Does it need it? Rick -follow your inner voice. Trust self. You are very good artist.


  12. Hard to trust self, say what?


  13. rick mobbs says:

    can’t find self to trust. yesterday’s self gone bye-bye. seen me anywhere? please tell self call home.


  14. marlowe44 says:

    Remember that self is constant, big boy. We all saw yesterday’s self. It hung out here and made some comments and shared some poetry. For a time we communicated with it. Then there was the now-self, and we communicated with it, but now it too is in the yesterday club. The only constant is the now self that re-emerges daily, and the exquisite dessert in the meta-mix is the tomorrow self, the future self. We all wonder what the hell it will be up to.



  15. annieepoetry says:

    Self will get bored and come home. Mean time enjoy being all.


  16. annieepoetry says:

    I posted this a while back. It was what I told a friend and she told I should it write down. I was goin’ over some of my old posts and saw this one and thought of you.


    Creativity is awesome dudes.

    It is a source of light in a dark and stubborn

    world that wants to enslave you

    You create

    freedom and courage with creativity.

    Now some people think that the only reason to do

    something is if they can make money from the endeavor.

    That is stupid.

    How much money do you get from watching tv or reading

    or eating or taking a bowl movement for a walk around the city?


    Creating is human.

    It is something that we should do

    without doubt or fear.

    Many people are depressed and take chemicals

    to alter their mood. For some this is the only way

    they can step out of the rancid ignorance of depression.

    You can change your mood and learn to control

    the way you feel through the choices you

    make and how you choose to view the world.

    You can laugh at your internal and exterior complexities.

    You can be aware, invested, and joyous.


    Emotion is part of being

    human and everyone gets depressed

    when messed up things happen.

    The difference is some allow themselves to act

    human and express loss, shame, fear, etc and move on.

    Some use creativity as way

    to develop and grow a joy infected peaceful human.

    One of the beginning steps of creating peace is creating.

    Peace creates joy.


    Teach self to be in the moment and not caught

    in a past or a future. Admit to yourself

    that you are a fool and the whole world is made up

    of fools and we are all idiots and there is no one

    who is not despite their cocky

    stance or explosives or big tits.

    No one is better than you and there is always someone

    who’ll get more praise and props.

    They may be sorry excuses for a human but

    so are you and so really what is there to complain about?

    You are not going to create the greatest art ever.

    Someone will come along and usurp you.

    That is not your goal when you are creating.

    Your goal is to create.

    You can always go back and say your art

    sucks apple cores and rework it into something

    that is not offensive to your aesthetic eye pie.

    First you create and lose the rabbit in the process.

    You create in the now and maintain

    blind faith in self humanity


  17. rick mobbs says:

    thanks, annie. i posted a link to the poem on your blog. hope you don’t mind.


  18. annieepoetry says:

    I don’t mind.


  19. rick mobbs says:

    Thank you everyone for all the comments. It is incredibly affirming to hear from you. Through you I am beginning to see my work less as idiosyncratic weirdnesses expressing or expelling this or that and more as sometimes inspired poetry others can relate to and enjoy. That is a big gift to me.

    Annie, I just reread what you wrote and love it. Much to mull over and take to heart here, and neatly phrased, too. I’ll be back to visit soon. xox rick


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