The calendar grinds along
sifting winter’s cold
adding sun minutes here and there
stretching daylight hours

Cold toes and fingers
stiff but not with age
grasp the icy handles
buckets and shovels and my little stool
and I park next to Bessie

Her milk plays its notes
striking, ringing the cold metal
as the cats, lined up, sit watching
waiting for a shot of breakfast

Now and then I squirt the cats
and they spring to action, licking
oh, so happy for fresh warm milk

Winter crawls along
freezing what it can
the earth, rock hard,
is waiting, not complaining

We grind feed for stock
throw down hay from the mow
head back to the house for breakfast

Shedding frozen clothes
the coal stoker toasts us quickly
the giant iron creature roars
heating the house and us

Winter is so wearing, so long
we wonder when, if ever
the birds will sing, the grass will grow
Hold on! hold on!

Lin, mid February, 2015
childhood on the farm