Lyrical Ballads in Peppermint

It’s late here, and the end of a long week. Christmas is approaching apace, and in the spirit of that we’re drinking something by the unlikely name of Candy Cane Crush. To be clear; we have no great love for candy canes. We think they were largely invented to hang on Christmas trees.

We do like this tea. Whereas the Moroccan Mint of earlier in the calendar was too minty even for us, this is a black tea with added peppermint, and it’s more like drinking a peppermint cream. Peppermint creams in liquid form are, according to us, an entirely acceptable way to greet Christmas.

It’s still Advent on the calendar though, so here’s that poem we’ve been promising, with hints -we think -of Advent in it. Snow, otters, dreams, and the journey we take on trust. We found it quite by accident the other day, but its opening lines won us over immediately. There’s almost a Lyrical Ballads feel to it, the glorifying of something as mundane as an otter in the river. See if you agree.

Midnight Snow

James Crews

Outside in the creek that feeds the lake
and never freezes, an otter slaps the water
with his paw to feel the current’s pulse—
Slip in, lie back. Slip in, lie back. He shuts
his eyes and obeys, knowing the layers
of hair and underfur will warm him while
he floats on a faith we wish could carry us.
The sound of his splashing fades, but not
his joy in being pushed, light as driftwood,
back to the mouth of the den I have seen
carved out beneath the roots of a fallen fir
now packed with snow and lined with leaves
that promise his sleep will be deep.
Because no dreams wait softly for me,
I open the woodstove and strike a match,
hold the bloom of the flame to kindling
that catches quick as my wish: To be that
slick body sliding into the lake that holds
the moon, bright portal to glide through
without so much as a shiver, no doubt
about where I’m going, how to get there.

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