Works in the Herald 1936
Old winter blusters up and down the land, 
   Weeping and puffing in a senile rage; 
Snowy is his head, and heavy his great hand 
   That shakes and rends the tortured foliage
Of forest tree and garden shrub. His breath 
Brings to all tenderer beauty frozen death. 
   Jealous of all young life, he storms, he cries 
   Age's mean envy 'neath his lowering skies. 

But, stepping softly from the storm-crowned hills, 
   Comes now the maiden all have yearned to meet. 
Her bright young hair is gold with daffodils, 
   Shy primulus start up around her feet; 
Birds flock about her, singing. Her shy gaze 
Rests on old angry Winter as she says: 
   "Come Daddy, rest awhile. Why must you rave? 
   Not so do nice old gentlemen behave." 

"Gold-digger!" he retorts. "My wealth is locked 
   Deep in hard earth from those soft, thieving hands 
Not by your blandishments is stern thrift mocked, 
   Or treasure filched from out my ice-bound lands." 
She strokes his scanty hair. Her lovely eyes 
Look into his, seeking to mesmerise 
   This fierce old dotard. Yet again he stirs 
To shout, and tear his wrinkled hand from hers. 

"Harpy!" he mutters. But again he nods 
   As, with a low-voiced crooning lullaby - 
Learned long ago from happy, careless gods - 
   She tempts sleep into that old, rheumy eye . . . 
Now, suddenly she smiles; and all around 
Spring magic treasure from the sun-drenched ground. 
   "Come now, my merry ones! Here is our chance! 
   Old Father Winter sleeps. On with the dance!"

Herald, 24 August 1936

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2011