Outside is limbo between one inside and another,
but the day grows on and my eyes are dried and painful--
central heating, artificial light, and worst of all,
the uncaring blue light of a computer screen
and the white glare of paper under the bulb of a lamp.
I ache for the world I have neglected too long.
A jumper, a coat, a hat, a scarf and gloves;
warm shoes and socks and legwarmers:
my armour against all that nature holds for me.
I walk, and music fails me after just one song,
and now I am alone with my thoughts
and the crunch of the ice under my feet.
My paths lies down the centre of the road,
spurred by the thought that in this weather
no car will be moving so fast to knock me down.
I take the ungritted roads behind the houses;
walk with impunity where normally I am cautious,
and laugh that nature has driven us indoors.
Words form in my mind. I find untouched snow
and walk in circles and then leap away from the centre
so that my spiral is unblemished. It is a puzzle
for those who come here after me and see my marks.
As I walk away I reflect on how unlikely it is
that they will even notice my footprints at all.
I pull my scarf up to shield my face and now I am eyes
peering out from beneath a black woollen hat.
It is not mine, but I no longer have my own armour,
and others lend me theirs out of kindness and fear
for my health, perhaps, or for my thoughts,
which are so easily made bitter by little things.
My eyes are cold and damp and I am crying--
why am I crying? I am not sad, or in pain.
But at home my eyes were dry and burning
and it was because of them that I was driven to the snow
and the darkness and a world in which I attempt
to leave my mark but merely dirty the pure ice.
I turn back, but still I am walking in the road
and headlights are before me and for a moment,
I hesitated before I step onto the grassy centre of the road
and wait for them to pass before I resume trudging
through the slush the car has left. I wonder that
I moved at all, and then berate myself for thinking so.
I am on my way home, but I have words yet,
half-formed poems and snatches of song,
set to the crunch of the ice under my shoes
and the swish of my coat against my thighs
and the soft thump of my scarf as I walk
and emotions I do not quite understand or like.
In the darkness and the snow, the street is empty
and it is just the night, the ice and me.