by Thomas Davis
The woman wrapped the child against the cold
And walked into the forest where the glow
Of moonlight pooled a deeply shadowed gold
Beneath the trees on softly shining snow.
She gathered wood, the baby on her back,
And built a fire, its warmth a dancing light
Upon a great flat rock protruding black
Into the lake’s infinity of white.
Then, in the dark, sat, death-still, beside
The flames, the baby in her arms, the smear
Of stars above their heads a radiant tide
Of silence singing to the ebbing year.
At last, her voice a permutation slipped
Into the night, she started chanting words
Born deep in spirit as the blackened crypt
Of waters stirred beneath lake ice, and birds,
As black as mourning shrouds, began to fly,
The forest stirring like the waters, wind
A whisper as the baby voiced a tiny cry
And shadowy trees began to sway and bend.
The woman got up on her feet, her voice
As silver as the moon, and sang as deer
Began to bound onto the ice: “Rejoice,”
The woman sang, and as she sang the fear
Felt during hours of pain-filled, labored birth
Dissolved into the biting wind and light
That danced with deer upon the lake, the earth
And living integrated with the night.