The two old men sitting on the park bench
look in opposite directions
across the scuffled snow.
Both have hats, neither wears gloves.
Scarves are tucked into overcoats.
Their hands must be cold
and their feet too in the thin leather shoes.
Then they turn and look towards each other;
their eyes smile
and their fingers touch.
The ice-blue air is suddenly less bitter.
Tomorrow they will be here again.
the sun is paler than the milky sky
the winter east wind cuts faces deep
empty grey days stretch out ahead of us
empty days stretch out grey ahead of us
breathless heart pounding
only one goal in my mind
T-shirts, sandals, sunglasses
Tourists in mufflers
The bus stop is crowded this afternoon. Large men in kilts and rugby shirts wait patiently, beardedly. “Is it going to say dry?” “Aye,I think so. But there’s the cold coming.” They look west.
The couple with the dog in a coat are less patient. He is shaking his head like a cartoon character; she rests her gloved hand on his raincoated arm. “It’s getting colder, isn’t it?” “We wouldn’t be feeling it if we were on the bus.”
A robin fluttery-swoops down towards the shelter then sees the dog and banks away. The bus arrives. It does not look as though there will be room for everyone.
The cold is biting. The wind has teeth.
Deep in throats there is howl.
The crack of a tree that snaps in the closeness.
Snow sharp ice on bare-skin faces.
One more step, one more.
One, one more.
Cool sun, sky ice light blue. Commuters puff out their personal clouds and frown knowingly. “It’s back then. Aye, here’s winter again.”
My talented pal Ross @bigblether drew the illustration below.
The sky holds ice. Baby blue slides to old-man silver grey. Air is edged and sharp. Skin is cold as burnt touching water; heart pain for those who have suffered. Close the door when the last stranger has entered; never, never, when one remains outside.
Bobby was the kind of boy who slept with the windows open, come hail or ice or snow. On holidays abroad he slept in the wine cellar. His parents took him to see doctors but they could find no fever; he just functioned better in the cold. When he was a teenager he worried about global warming but in Scotland that only seemed to mean more rain and snow. His family and friends thought he would become an Arctic explorer or an ice cream seller; some even had a sweepstake on the job he – or his temperature – would choose. But in the end the universe showed it had a sense of humour. From the day he picked up his first guitar, it was clear – he would be in a band, the coolest band in town.
I sat the sky on the naughty step
and asked it why it was crying.
But it just sat there shivering and dripping
on the carpet.
Then with a start it took its head out from among its clouds:
“I’m cold”, it said.
So I thought about the story of the sky and the rain
and anthropomorphising it a little more
but it was cold and I could not see the point
or the wallpaper through the mist.