Long Winter–a poem by Tim Nolan

I subscribe online to the Writer’s Almanac, Garrison Keillor’s site which sends a daily poem. I reprint this without permission but crediting the author, Tim Nolan. My comments follow the poem.

Long Winter
by Tim Nolan

So much I’ve forgotten
the grass

the birds
the close insects

the shoot—the drip—
the spray of the sprinkler

freckles—strawberries—
the heat of the Sun

the impossible
humidity

the flush of your face
so much

the high noon
the high grass

the patio ice cubes
the barbeque

the buzz of them—
the insects

the weeds—the dear
weeds—that grow

like alien life forms—
all Dr. Suessy and odd—

here we go again¬—
we are turning around

again—this will all
happen over again—

and again—it will—


Here in Sudan I have forgotten not only the grass but also the white expanse of cool wet snow. Here, the long dry season has left inches of fine silt to blow across the hard-packed ground. Sahara sand mixed with dirt, it coats equipment, tables, and chairs, dries eyes and throats, clings to the sweat that covers my body, blackens my sandaled feet.

There is no dirth of birds of all sizes and colors, both beautiful and hideous in looks or nature, their voices a cacophony sounding before dawn and after dusk. No sprinklers here, no strawberries, no fruit, save the coconut. The sun’s heat is inescapable, except for the occasional breeze under the shade of the infrequent tree. There is also wind, which is quite different from the breeze, carrying the bric-a-brac of weeds and trash. The weeds often come with thorns and sticks, one of which stabbed the top of my foot where my sandal didn’t cover.

Insects, lizards, frogs, and bats our constant companions, along with the antelope and the occasional feral cat.

Humidity will attend the rains in May, and by August, perhaps, the roads will flood. Vehicle travel between villages will cease and the silty footpaths will squish beneath the sandals or between the toes of bare feet splashing through water ankle to knee deep. Until the rains cease and the sun sucks dry the Sudd again.

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One response to “Long Winter–a poem by Tim Nolan

  1. Deb–It was very nice to come upon your “take” from Africa on my poem. It made me see things from a whole different angle. Best wishes to you.

    Tim Nolan

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