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At the Metolius River, We Walk in Falling Snow
Judith H. Montgomery


We step together from the porch
into late winter’s violetting dark.

About us, February flurries its snow
smatter, veil looping blued drifts

piled against the bridge-rail. Freezing waters
flex below to an avalanche of falls.

We fall silent in the river’s hush. Stand
isolated, chill, in the brilliant hush of snow.


Once, these woods summered us in green.
Now alder’s frost-bowed, weighted under white.

The lone dipper exercises joint by stiff joint,
bobbing on a black rock compromised in ice.

Overhead, in perilous geometry,
Ponderosas plunge to a frozen halt.

Snags seared by lightning thrust snow-blind.
Mauls of wind crack everything apart.

You move away, to crumbling river’s-edge.
I shiver on a ledge of cold.


But then, above, across the shut sky,
paired geese wing and cry here, home.

You turn, we turn to each other through the dark,
while snow shadows land, water, rock

to essential bones: each tree its ladder, bird
its scarf of song. Each branch its load of beauty.

Our hands a bridge to cross the coming night.


This poem first appeared in Clackamas Literary Review (Spring 1998).
Used here with the author’s permission.



Judith H. Montgomery lives in the High Desert in Bend, Oregon, where she writes and tries to keep deer from eating her geraniums. Her poems appear in a number of  journals and anthologies and her first collection, Passion, received the 2000 Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Judith loves to teach and talk about poetry, is the author of three collections, and is working on two new manuscripts.




Post New Comment:
Beautifully written poem, loved it.
Posted 02/20/2017 02:24 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful language and picture created.
Posted 02/20/2017 01:43 PM
Judith, I like the whole poem and I like especially your use of alliteration at various points with your creation. Marvelous piece. Thank you.
Posted 02/20/2017 10:38 AM
Very lovely; the detail is superb. Beautifully sequenced.
Posted 02/20/2017 07:31 AM
Larry Schug:
Like viewing a painting, there is more to see, more nuance with each reading of this fine poem.
Posted 02/20/2017 07:18 AM
Makes me feel like I entered a sanctuary. Beautiful poem. Thanks, Judith.
Posted 02/20/2017 06:06 AM
Their scarf of song! How lovely. I enjoyed this poem so much. Thank you Judith.
Posted 02/20/2017 03:58 AM

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