At the Palace of the North Wind by Christopher W. Clark

At the palace of the North Wind, the Lapland witches
Are busy braiding and pleating, knotting the cold winds
Into blustery patchworks, and foul-weathered folds:
They bind and weave with patient, wind-bitten fingers

And carry their wintry threadworks in long trains behind them
To the topmost of the world’s topmost, and unspool each one,
long garlands on the air, flutters, flurries, breezes, blusters
That fret and carve the clouds into cold shapes,
scatter seeds and snow, and limn the flights of dark birds

These wayward tangles of the great North Wind,
Tousling a lover’s hair, or bowing the tops of trees,
Swirling snow in a glittering helix, or churning the still sea
To a silver froth, stippling it over with diamonds ‘”

Or finally severing that last, clinging autumn leaf
Outside your window, falling slowly, slowly,
As though the wind cradled it, singing away
Its cares of dark earth and the coming frost

And when the North wind has blown its last breath,
It gathers again in worn tatters to the witches’ hands,
Bringing with it all the wind carried away:
fallen leaves, spindrift, scarves blown loose
From pale necks, and words spoken secretly to no one:
                                          Promises, mostly, and earnest ones.


BIO: Christopher Clark has been writing steadily since he was nine years old, when he penned his first story. Nothing has been quite right with him since. He currently lives in Oklahoma, but hopes to make the move to Finland soon.

IMAGE: llustration from Harry Clarke’s suite for Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen, 1916