A Summer’s Field in Winter by Michael L. Utley

A sad stone angel buried partially in snow with a partially buried red flower behind it
Image Source: Canva Pro

let us sift through summer’s solemn ashes

let us scavenge rusted hopes from twisted

hulks of yesterdays amid the swelter

and the din of frigid silence

as crows circle

this broad swath the acreage of sorrow

garden of the gods whose feckless mewling

echoes ‘cross the eons and the seasons

crumble into dust as autumn

gives up her ghost

we were never long for this cold world, this

dispensation of abominations

sunset fell before the flax had faded

bleeding out beneath indiff’rent

constellations

paradise, oh paradise eternal

dashed upon the stones of human hubris

we the stewards dined on milk and honey

as our world descended into

oblivion

thus the world was burned and we burned with it

rendered lurking shadows in the gloaming

flesh and bone have failed us as the season

of regrets approaches; we have

earned winter’s wrath

in our dreams we’ll gather wild flowers

fetch the wicker basket for the poppies

crowns of woven larkspur shall adorn us

we will rest among oak shadows

in the clearing

and when we awaken from our slumber

and when we espy the desolation

let us sift through summer’s solemn ashes

in the winter’s frigid silence

as crows circle

-MICHAEL L. UTLEY

Mike is a deaf writer/photographer who lives in rural southwest Colorado, USA.  His love of nature shines through his poetry and photography, both of which he uses to make sense of his world.

Please visit Silent Pariah to read and view more of his wonderful work.

We would love to read your work. Interested? Please READ our SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.

-MASTICADORESINDIA

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32 Comments Add yours

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    Michael’s beautiful poetry likens the actions of humans to the changing seasons. The emotions drift from line to line as the words depict the harsh reality and the ideality that we dream of. There’s devastation that often cannot be reversed but time moves forward to offers chances of better decisions. Let’s salvage what we can and limit further damage.
    Congratulations Michael!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much for your kindness in publishing this piece, Terveen. A salvaged hope is better than no hope at all, and at this point, it might just be all we have left as a species. We mustn’t remain asleep while our world burns or we’ll have only desolation to greet us when we awaken. You have such a keen knack for slipping inside a poem and exploring its nooks and crannies to find meaning. It’s always a delight to read your thoughts. Thanks again for being such a wonderful presence here on WordPress, as well as for being a writer’s greatest ally. Much appreciated, my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent Mike, another nail in the coffin of materialism!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Many thanks. Materialism is most definitely overrated. At some point we’ll have nothing left and maybe then we’ll figure it out (if we’re still around, that is). I appreciate your kind comment. 🙂

      Like

  3. paradise, oh paradise eternal
    dashed upon the stones of human hubris
    we the stewards dined on milk and honey
    as our world descended into
    oblivion

    Wow, Mike. This poem rocks me. An amazing write.


    David

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks, David. Your comment made my day. 🙂 Happy to know you liked this offering, my friend! I appreciate your support so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful, Mike. Love the powerful imagery in this pice. Brilliant.💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Kindest thanks, Grace. For me, winter is a desolate season, so it’s easy for my mind to imagine the wreckage of a post-apocalypse world I appreciate your support as always and I’m happy to know you enjoyed this one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Truly my pleasure, dear Mike. I can totally understand how seasons affect emotions. I sure did enjoy it.💕

        Liked by 1 person

  5. haoyando says:

    I love the line, “the din of frigid silence”. Yes, silence can speak very loudly. And the season of regret. That’s every season. Regret has no cure…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much. I like playing with contrasts and opposites, and “the din of frigid silence” seemed to express exactly what I felt while imagining the world in this poem. And you’re absolutely right about regrets having no cure. I’ve got a pile of them and can’t seem to get rid of them! 😀 I appreciate your kind and thoughtful comment. Thank you for reading. 🙂

      Like

  6. gabychops says:

    An excellent and memorable poem that resonates with me as I love nature! Thank you!

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Joanna, for such a kind comment. As a fellow nature lover, I truly appreciate your support. I’m happy to know this one resonated with you. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Like

  7. balroop2013 says:

    Wow! Such outstanding imagery! Mike, I am in awe of your verses, each one better than the other. “scavenge rusted hopes” took my heart away but as the poem proceeds, it keeps on adding stunning phrases! Excellent work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thank you so much–you’re too kind! I love imagery in poetry. I think it has a lot to do with my deafness and having had to rely on my vision to compensate for my lack of hearing (this also benefitted me with regards to my nature photography). I’m so pleased to know you enjoyed this one. Your wonderful support is so appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. balroop2013 says:

        I love good poetry and yours is beautiful! I am delighted to connect with it. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sounding like a broken record at this point, but I’m simply floored by the beauty of Mike’s poetry. It’s so rich with feeling – a reverence for beauty as well as the pain of witnessing its callous destruction. The solemn cautionary tone of this piece and his imagery make me hold my breath as I read. A beautiful poem and an excellent selection to share with your readers, Terveen. Congrats to Mike.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks, Diana. Is it possible for a guy to blush? I’m so humbled by your words. I write these poems and send them out into the world with a tentative click of the Publish button, and I never know what will happen. When my writing resonates with someone, it’s the best feeling in the world, and I’m pretty sure you know that feeling, too. It turns that initial doubt into a moment of joy and relief. To know my poetry holds meaning for you, well, I can’t put it into words how that makes me feel. I’m so thankful to Terveen for believing in me and publishing my poetry. I’m also grateful to you for your kind comments and support Thank you so much, Diana. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Blush away. It’s well earned. I don’t gush over everyone’s work, but when I’m blown away, I have to find a way to express it.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow Mike! The depth of your writing is almost unspeakable. I’m awed by the truth of your words crafted and felt in the pours of my skin palpable by imagery that lives underneath the piercings of our world and society.
    Love this ending too. Bravo my friend! Well deserved!

    Take a bow!

    👏👏👏
    💗
    “when we awaken from our slumber

    and when we espy the desolation

    let us sift through summer’s solemn ashes

    in the winter’s frigid silence

    as crows circle”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks, Cindy. I’m always delighted by your wonderful, animated comments! Really means the world to me to know you enjoy my writing. I’m happy this one appeals to you, my friend. Thanks so much for all you do and for your enthusiastic support and encouragement. It makes a difference. Much appreciated! 🙂

      Like

  10. Cassa Bassa says:

    I’ve never lived in a cold climate. The biggest change in winter in a sbbtropical climate is about 4 hours less sunlight. In colder climates, the darkness is even longer. It feels we live less in winter which is dreadful. Your poem expresses the contrast outcomes of different actions. Nature sets the rule and rhythm of life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      “It feels we live less in winter which is dreadful.” This describes winter perfectly, especially for those of us who live where winter marks a drastic change from other seasons. It can be stifling and brooding and so depressing for some. Hope seems lost at times when everything is dark and cold, and springtime seems so far away. So we dream of spring’s release and hope for warmth, while the cold darkness surrounds us. Winter is like an apocalypse, the death of the earth, at least for a while. I love discovering the various ways people interpret poetry. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Cassa. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Aaysid says:

    Congratulations, Mike! The imagery and metaphors are beautiful and remarkably powerful in this phenomenal poem!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      See my reply below–I entered in it the wrong reply box! 😀 Oh well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. jonicaggiano says:

    Oh my goodness how funny Mike, I was just answering a comment you made on something I wrote and just came here to see what wonderful reading Terveen had in store for us today. Wow, I am a bit speechless my friend. There are so many things in this piece to feel. Starting out at the end of the first stanza with the crows circling. The death of summer and some times it does feel that way if every thing goes dark and there is no nature to enjoy. We the stewards, the people who are suppose to care go about enjoying all the wonders of the world, while not paying attention to the death, fires, and horror around us. This is so brilliantly written that I truly had to read it three times because of all the brilliant messages within your words Mike. I loved the way you ended this piece with the way we go about in summer forgetting about real life so we can all live out our happy little dream of our own personal world. Or do we even awake to see summer, perhaps that too is gone. Then the ending – masterful – again the crows circle . BRAVO Sending big hugs and congratulations on this amazing piece. I truly hope we get to read you more here, such a joy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Aw, you’re spoiling me, Joni! 😀 Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I had a lot on my mind while writing this one: climate change, war, the seasonal changes, and a game franchise I enjoy (Fallout–a post-nuclear apocalypse world). But I also wanted readers to participate with their own thoughts so I left it a bit ambiguous. The salvaging of old rusted hopes from the twisted hulks of yesterdays may be all we have left if we continue to keep our eyes tightly closed and refuse to acknowledge reality. The wheat field at the family farm was in my mind with the initial imagery, snow-covered and desolate and bitter cold, as crows circled. Bleakness and hopelessness. Our idyllic dreams are all for naught if we awaken to a hell of our own making. Thanks so much for your kind words, Joni. They truly mean a lot to me, coming from you. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, my friend. I hope to be here at MasticadoresIndia for awhile. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Mike U. says:

    Thanks a bunch, Aaysid. You know me and my weird relationship with winter–it inspires me, but in a melancholy way. It always seems like the end of the world to me when the first snow falls. I’m so glad you liked this piece. Thanks so much for such a kind appraisal. Much appreciated. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jonicaggiano says:

    Mike I am not spoiling you at all. You deserve every word and then some. Thank you for giving me even more insight to your thought process on writing this masterful piece, a gift really. I am delighted to know you will be here for a while. Terveen will literally have to throw me off her site, she has literally been such an amazing mentor to me. I bet a hay farm would be bleak in the winter time. Climate change you covered so artistically and the effect of seasonal changes can have a profound affect on some. Perhaps we will not awaken to the horrors of a world without animals, potable water, clean air to breathe, or the ability to sustain any growth of foods. Deforestation will just wash any nutrients off the soil and food will be hard to come by. What a wake-up call this piece is for so many reasons. I will be in awe for sometime to come. Your work is truly beautiful Mike. Many blessings to you this Sunday, and may a fairy come through the cold and place a thank you kiss upon both cheeks from me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks again, my friend. I’m so fortunate to receive your kind words. Let me just say I hope you always write. You have a wonderful voice and a singular talent, and your work is both fascinating and brilliant. It’s so good to have you here on WordPress and at MasticadoresIndia. I’m in awe of you and the other writers who are published here on a regular basis. Such talent! I shall keep an eye open for that fairy you mentioned. 🙂 Thanks so much, Joni. It means a lot to me, and you’ve made my day. Hugs to you, my friend. 🙂

      Like

  15. jonicaggiano says:

    I will keep writing my friend. Look for the fairy in the east she will be carrying lots of love and light. Yes, I too, feel blessed to have so many talented people to read here and on all of Masticadores. Big blessings and enjoy your day my friend. Thank you for your hugs back. 🧚🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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