Winter by Adrienne Rich

Dead, dead, dead, dead.
A beast of the Middle Ages
stupefied in its den.
The hairs on its body—a woman’s—
cold as hairs on a bulb or tuber.

Nothing so bleakly leaden, you tell me,
as a hyacinth’s dull cone
before it bulks into blueness.
Ah, but I’d chosen to be
a woman, not a beast or a tuber!

No one knows where the storks went,
everyone knows they have disappeared.
Something—that woman—seems to have
migrated also; if she lives, she lives
sea-zones away, and the meaning grows colder.

Adrienne Rich

About Russell Boyle

Russell Boyle is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. His poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness. Russell is the author of the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 to 10 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Sample poems and questions may be downloaded from
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