By g.l. bass 1/19/04 (the ghostbear still lives)

For Zack



Days of heavy clouds,

Rain , then to ice and snow.

Morning breaks clear

Born beneath dazzling sun.

Sun shimmers and gleams

Across hard crusted snow,

Below zero cold still freezes

Gray out of old dull days,

Spreading them white

Minute diamonds

Atop the woods

Hard snow pack .


Your breath instantly rises,

Into clouds,

Then freezes over your face.

Ice beads gather, caking your

Mustache, eyebrows, and

Crusting white

Around your lips.

If you remove your gloves,

(For only an instant)

Cold stings your fingers,

Bites your hands,

And assures you,

Below Zero is not

Your normal way of life.


All day my saw labored,

Cutting into solid oblong blocks,

Hickory, Cherry, and Cottonwood

Stacked then into neat Cords

That transform from dead wood

To living fires

Where they warm

My tired bones

At the end of this

Cutting day.


No one heard my saw

Arduously working its way

Through limb, branch and trunk.

No one noticed or gave call

To the falling 40 foot hickory,

Dead at the core,

Its heart turned hollow by

Marauding army ants.

No one bothered at my cursing

At the heavy cherry who

Tipped out of the cut,

Slipped, then pinched my blade

Tight enough to claim it

As its own.


Sitting for a moment,

Admiring the problem,

My Lab and I rested

Near a long downed

Tall hickory's trunk,

Watching, and waiting,

Waiting and watching,

For a solution.

The woods in cold

Holds its beauty



Little moves,

There are no onlookers

Waiting for the story to end,

Or even resolve itself.

There aren't any



Or even passers by,

Who dare below zero.

Even geese take refuge

Where open river water

Warms their souls.

Nothing, no one,

Ventures forth against

Such cold.


The woods in cold

Holds beauty differently.

Without distraction,

I pause

In the clear,

Pure, cold silence


Below Zero.

And it is clear,

I may not have

The solution,

But I do have

My answer.