Because Of Bear And Winter

because of bear and winter

This creature is a profound metaphor for our lives, for return and increase coming from something that seemed deadened.

                                              Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The sun becomes

scattered bits of straw — while the landscape’s heat

hibernates in clouds slumbering

on the horizon.


Bird flight

configures the sky

with a paw print –black

scratching off the morning’s last


moments to let

thoughts surface like ghosts

at midday. Haunted

by what’s been too easy

to forget or delay; the heartache


that reawakens with exposure

to love or faith, I’m the wounded girl

who slides off the grizzly’s spine

(at the animal’s  insistence)

and shivers in the wind.


Drawn to a fire

between the distant pines;

I know I must warm my hands

reclaiming the instinct to reach

& touch. Pray.


The thaw making my fear

seem below zero.


  1. Still getting my head around this one; in addition to the theme of reawakening I also get a feeling of shaking off the past in order to move forward, as though winter represented your previous life. Well written and thought-provoking. I will be pondering this one for a while.


  2. Hi Michael

    Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your insight. And yes, you are in the realm of what I was hoping to convey. Much of my poetry is speculative fiction where I use traditional themes and archtypes from myth, fable, fairytale etc. to illustrate a certain point about life and the human condition. The duality of the bear ( in literature and myth) suggests a creature who hibernates and then reawakens, again his/her habits associated with the cycle of Winter into Spring. Often, as humans, we turn from those circumstances, emotions or experiences that have intimidated or wounded us. We hibernate in a state of silence, avoidance or denial. Yet, there comes a point when we must confront ourselves, our past and our memories. Here the bear mythically symbolizes a protective guardian who has allowed the speaker, the wounded girl, to take refuge from life for a little while. However, the bear also has the wisdom to insist she slide off his sheltering presence and regain her confidence, her ability to reach out and reaffirm her faith and interaction with humanity. And though, she journeys forth, her fear is still letting her freeze, shiver with anxiety and hesitation, much like below zero temperatures.

    Again, thanks!


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