The Mist’s On The Mountains

“The winter is coming”, I hear the birds pine.

The Mist’s On The Mountains

By Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

The mist’s on the mountains, the skies are all grey.
The shadows of night fall fast on the day.
The sentinels of summer prepare to change guard,
And saluting the winter, she retires from the yard.
The school books and jotters in windows are seen.
Make way for an gheimhreadh1, goodbye to the green.

The barley is cut, is baled and away,
And empty the look on the acres today.
And the strolls by the stream or the bridge down below
Must surrender to fires that are high and aglow.
“The winter is coming”, I hear the birds pine.
“Winter, cold winter and all things are dying”.

All things of the earth and the sky coloured lead,
And poor folks regarding ‘The Christmas’ with dread.
The Postie is eyeing the tea that is hot,
And cupping his cold hands: “Tis rainin’ a lot.”
Apples and ripe fruit mouthwatering, mature,
Are stored for the winter till Spring, to endure.

And children change hurleys for sitting-room games,
And cuddle to books by warm turf-fire flames.
Coughing and sneezing and wheezing et al,
Disregarded by Doc, who puts up with it all.
It’s time to remember the harvest is done.
Time to think fondly of some distant one.

In foggy cold cities, in far away climes,
Time to remember far happier times.
The town’s news reporter in courtroom and chambers,
Wearies of damp talk and longs for the embers.
The curate is preaching of crimes and of sin,
Maybe secretly longing for a brandy or gin.

Winter, cold winter, tis Nature’s own law,
Jack Frost is in session now wait for the thaw.
All natural happenings are merely like life.
You can savour hay sweet like a newly got wife.
But when the hay’s saved, you must forage anew,
In the everyday way of a love that is true.

And there’s joy in the winter if only we look,
Just listen in bed, to the rain, with that book.
Awaiting the light and the warm hope of spring,
We pause before flames and summer songs sing.
And so goes the cycle of all things that live.
You laugh in the summer, in winter you grieve.

All the while hoping and dreaming the best,
As the snow from the heavens comes softly to rest.
So, too is life, of snow and of sun.
You may weep all you like, but tis how things are done.
So, I laugh at the winter and keep up the heart,
And the snows of today will tomorrow depart.
Winter, cold winter and all things are dying.
Winter cold winter, I hear the birds sighing.
That’s how goes the universe and all that’s of earth,
Darkness and starkness and sunshine and mirth.


[“an gheimhreadh” 1 – Irish language translation – “the winter”.

Tom Ryan, “Iona,” Rahealty, Thurles, Co. Tipperary


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