Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Winter in the Parks

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Winter-locked are the elms in the park
Where the nuthatch spirals the granite bark,
And the hoary hawthorns stand all day
Blossomed with frosts instead of may.

Bonneted, booted, the children go,
Their footsteps squeak on the frozen snow,
Disturbing the huddled daylight owl
And the shivering wren on the alder bole.

Skates on the river hiss and ring
Where dons delight to dip in spring,
And ladies tread a steel-shod measure
On the sacred surface of Parsons’ Pleasure.

Under the skaters, far below,
Roofed with the ice and the wind-blown snow,
Sluggish and cold and dark and deep
The summer Cherwell lies asleep.

Oxford Times, 1 February 1963
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983