Reel by Barbara Crooker

Maybe night is about to come
calling, but right now
the sun is still high in the sky.
It’s half-past October, the woods
are on fire, blue skies stretch
all the way to heaven. Of course,
we know winter is coming, its thin
winding sheets and its hard narrow bed.
But right now, the season’s fermented
to fullness, so slip into something
light, like your skeleton; while these old
bones are still working, my darling,
let’s dance.

Reel

Here is a light-hearted poem for darkening days and of course the celebration of Hallowe’en or Samhain, the time when the veils between the worlds are thin and in some cultures, the departed ancestors are celebrated. Though we are now already in November, it seemed timely to share this one.

By the time you are reading this, the sun may be high in the sky or perhaps night is about to come / calling. Either way, Crooker’s description of half-past October, with the woods on fire as they still are around here, is a beautiful evocation of this time of year. And this year it feels like the leaves are staying on the trees longer than usual; still waiting for my ginkgo to turn gold.

She playfully reminds us that winter is coming, its thin / winding sheets and its hard narrow bed – a harsh but apt descriptor of winter for those who feel its chill without the pleasures it can also bring. Still, for now, the season’s fermented / to fullness, another rich image of the inevitable conversion of autumn to winter. And finally, the invitation to let yourself move while these old / bones are still working.

May you dance to celebrate the changing season, the bountiful gifts of autumn’s harvest and gentle dying of the year.

9 thoughts on “Reel by Barbara Crooker

  1. I love “its half past October”! and winter is coming, its thin
    winding sheets and its hard narrow bed.” Not to mention the description of the brilliant light and colors of Fall. Thank you Jan.

    Like

  2. I don’t see this as a light-hearted poem. It is soaked in death. Night coming to call can surely be seen as a metaphor for dying. “winding sheet” is what dead bodies are wrapped in in so many cutures. “Hard narrow bed” a coffin. “sun” still high in the sky could mean the Son”s presence is not being felt as nearby. “Slip into ..your skeleton”. How can you miss that reference to death?
    However these images are balance by LIFE: the beauty of the leaves (as they die); blue skies, heaven, fermented to fullness; and the most profound one–dancing in the face of death. There is even a strength shown by knowing that winter in coming, facing it, not trying to escape it.
    So I really like the poem for its depth.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an interesting poem. It fit well with my day as I walked with an old friend along a remote trail in the Gatineau woods remembering and celebrating the life of a man dear to us both.
    Thank you so much Jan. Lisa xo

    Like

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