| TO WINDLE
McRae works as a copy editor for William Morrow in New York City
as well as other publishers. She also runs her own freelance business:
McRae Editorial Services in Blairstown, NJ. She has published
poetry in the Journal of NJ Poets and Amelia. She
won two short story contests in Washington, D.C., where she once
resided as an attorney. She has read her work for several Skylands
Writers & Artists Association events. McRae is currently writing
a mystery novel set in ninth-century China.
Owl's light at noon
from a sun sunk in age and dying,
earth's cold breath a mist
upon the glass of sky,
and I, nearer than the sun to death,
am entropy personified;
I crave the last faint rays,
draw nearer to the dying fire.
And feel no fear
until the sun falls down,
and the sky splits open
to reveal my sepulchre of night
and starry bier; but I would stay,
for home is here;
the stars are alien and far--
and powerless against the dark.
So many words lie dead
in the tombs of old dictionaries--
there's no point in trying to revive them;
if you use them
you won't be understood,
you'll be accused of obscurantism
but the new words are water,
the old words wine.
Consider the verb to windle--
you've never even used it
but you've seen it in an ancient Webster's,
you know it once existed;
and how you miss it
on a January night
when in the streetlamp's light
outside your window
snowflakes whirl, they windle,
and you remember a certain snowglobe
with little singers,
a boy and girl dressed in velvet and fur,
and how you turned it upside down
then right side up again
to watch the snow as it windled.
One steamy night in August
you think for a moment it's snowing:
in the same streetlight
white moths are windling;
then in springtime the floss of dandelions
windles through that light like sleet,
and every night, regardless of the season,
your thoughts windle before you sleep.
© 1997 by Virginia McRae. All rights reserved.