When the woodpile thins, it grows thick with ice.
When dawn is dim, it prods the neighbour’s cows
before your rooster stirs.

Shivering into the kitchen,
you catch the embers of last night’s roar, lolling
drowsy —

shake them, quick! Like hauling your grandchildren through a blizzard –
rattling their sinking bones again and again.
Scrabling up the banks of hypothermia’s slippery gullet,
you bellow (pleading): stay! stay awake!

This morning
as you slap your hands and beg a log into life,
a barge glides past your window
whispering promises under its black breath.

In your highest paddock, the yellowing mare offers her spine
to the first colt she ever bore. His chin is greying now,
bristling like hers.

Warmth is not fodder, but they share it anyway.
It’s easier for one heart to beat against another
when ribs are as bare
as the grate in your fireplace,
idling through last summer
with no guarantee of return
for you alone.

-Naomi Byrnes

A response to the visual meditation on “Horses and Meadows” by Edgar Degas, Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington. Available free on SoundCloud.

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I’d love to see what you create in response to the visual meditation. You can post a comment on SoundCloud with a link to your writing and/or art, or reply to this post.