after Kotaro Takamura
The fire on the gas hearth
Murmurs to us its warmth,
And the lamp enfolded in the study
Whispers its light upon us, drowsy two.
In the dusk the clouds break up into snow.
A glance just now, outside the window,
And all the world is white,
A heavy, drifting, deepening white,
Covering the earth, the roof, our hearts.
The world holds its breath, a bright-eyed
Innocence at how such weight, such softness,
Can so easily enfold such joy.
‘See how deep it is already!’
Someone else’s voice from far away,
And the bustle of feet stamping away the snow.
The night grows quieter. 11 o’clock,
And our own conversation trails off with the tea.
Hand in hand, we cup our ears
To the world’s deep-chambered hush,
To this slow meander of hours,
Faces moist, opening our hearts
To the sum of human senses.
Another stamping of feet in the snow.
And something else, a car going by.
Then my own voice –
‘Ah, look at that snow!’
And, just as you are about to reply,
I see your face, lips parted,
Transfigure into enchantment,
Into magic, into a joy reflected by this
Deep night snow,
By these gathering, falling, crystal
Flakes, warming you with every