Winterborn

 

From the north the killing force arrives 

Winter stars extinguished from the sky 

Arctic wind spreads death across the plains 

Cold gray hands embalming every vein 

Of all the nights fate chooses this bleak night 

To birth a beast into the cruelest plight 

Lying there in shock and bare extreme 

From safe warm womb to freezing misery 

Suffering. Struggling. Trembling tightly curled 

In roaring gale his feeble bleats unheard 

Accepting this as only newborns can 

A fight for life within death’s crushing hand 

A flaw in nature, logic might suggest 

Bringing life into a night like this 

Where grizzled bison bawl with primal fear 

A cold this country hasn’t seen in years 

The eldest know the only way to hide 

Lie still and let it bury you alive 

Short and shallow panting through the nose 

Lungs will ache wheezing frothy foam 

The dim gray dawn brings forth an abstract sight 

Monsters rising slowly from the ice 

Mother beckons babe to try and stand 

He wobbles up and falls back down again 

The thirsty herd begins to walk away 

She nudges him to try and stand again 

She knows if left alone there’s little time 

Wolves have quite the taste for left behinds 

He tries again but one leg has gone lame 

The foot half froze will never be the same 

With healthy legs a trial this act would be 

The scrapper slowly rises on just three   

Finally up and sucking warm white life 

Muzzle thrusting drinking with delight 

Standing strong this little tripod form 

Quite the fighter is our winterborn 

The lessons of the killing months are learned 

Within his supple mind the cold is burned 

His temperament imprinted from the herd 

Less playful, more quiet and reserved 

He learns to taste the air for hint of steam 

Rising from the flowing saving spring 

He notes the first warm brush of southern wind 

The scent of side-oats written deep within 

Some calves are born in summer, most in spring 

They play their first few days in waves of green 

Thin and tender skin of little strife 

Biting flies their greatest strain of life 

But now and then a birth in winter months 

Brought forth on the far side of the sun 

And these rare few, often stunted souls 

Flaws in nature, reason might propose 

But nature always proves her methods sound 

To every glitch she gives a work around 

A strength for every curse she often deeds 

As tempered steel doused in great extreme 

Behold the scrapper now a massive beast 

Out in front, standing in the lead 

To cold and thirst his herd may soon succumb 

The ceaseless storm has drove them lost and numb 

He turns his head his nostrils twitch and flare 

Tasting every atom in the air 

Testing ice-dried wind for wisps of wet 

Taking any hope that he can get 

He starts one way then makes a gentle veer 

A thousand beasts trusting where he steers 

A mile wide trail of hoof churned earth and snow 

The rumbling crunching mass of mammals go 

To liquid life and maybe winter grass 

Today the fate of death they’ll just slip past 

And death recalls this beast with gimpy gate 

The one that long ago somehow escaped 

This one from whom death took the stinging jilt 

Who rose up on three legs to reach his milk 

Then grew to fight and earn his rightful claim 

This quiet beast the winter wind has named 

    —— 

Some are born in summer, some in spring 

Spending sunny days in love and ease 

Tender skins as young ones ought to have 

Spirits on the smooth and well-lit path 

If you are a soul that fate has cursed 

That winter winds have buried deep in hurt 

Left for dead trembling cold and lame 

Perhaps a greater purpose calls your name 

      

You might just be the one that nature formed 

To lead the hurting masses through their storms 

The one that death regards with seething scorn 

The mighty one the wind calls Winterborn

 

 

39 comments

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  • Peggy Bland
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    So beautiful, Elliott! Makes me have cold chills!

    So beautiful, Elliott! Makes me have cold chills!

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    One of my favorites

    One of my favorites

  • Kitty Aldrich
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    Wow....just wow....it's beautiful. I love this so much. You are so talented :)

    Wow....just wow....it's beautiful. I love this so much. You are so talented smile

  • Dean
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    Winter born has grit. God bless the scrapers of life.

    Winter born has grit. God bless the scrapers of life.

  • Deb Smith
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    Elliott, this is such raw truth. Thank you!

    Elliott, this is such raw truth. Thank you!

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    Amen,brother. I've got two good legs and a crooked head.

    Amen,brother. I've got two good legs and a crooked head.

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