Winter for a Moment Takes the Mind
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Penny Harter

is published widely in journals and anthologies, and her literary autobiography appears as an extended essay in Contemporary Authors. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Barefoot Muse, Exit 13, The Edison Literary Review, Gargoyle, and The Valparaiso Review.

Her most recent books are Along River Road; Lizard Light: Poems From the Earth; and Buried in the Sky. WordTech Editions publishes her new collection, The Night Marsh, in January 2008.

She has won three poetry fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, as well as awards from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Poetry Society of America, and the first William O. Douglas Nature Writing Award for her work in the anthology American Nature Writing 2002. She works as a teaching poet for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Arts-in-Education program.  For more information, please visit her website.

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Winter Song

Come here, child, come here,
I beg you to come here.
’Tis I, child, in the fairest bush
On the high hillside sere.

        And pray tell who are you,
        To me   to me   to me,
        And why should I come up to you
        Your features for to see?

’Tis your father, child,
The fair bush by the scree,
And so you must come closer still,
Come closer than you be.

        Nay, that I cannot do, Sire,
        For you are bare and drear,
        And I moun run along to home
        Before the dark appear.

Ne’er fear, child, ne’er fear,
I am both fair and warm
And I am now returned to you
To shield you from all harm.

        Nay I will not come, Sire,
        For look—cold wind doth blow
        And soon ’twill whip you to the sky
        Wherein all spirits go!

Won’t do, child, won’t do,
For I have roots enow
To endure this rising wind
That thickens into snow.

        Yet I moun not come, Sire,
        Into your stiff arms,
        For my grave would buried be
        By the breaking morn!

Come here, child. Come here . . .