Wisps of Smoke

A Week in the Life of Winter '09 ... in poesy.

Monday thru Friday

I work at a building along Main Street in Harwich. From my desk, looking east through two second- story windows, I have a commanding view of the village below. It is an inspiring vista, with a Congregational Church spire up the road reaching forever skyward. After sunset, with the full snow moon rising, it is a scene that can make a believer out of anyone ... perhaps even me. 

One recent late afternoon, as I worked at my desk, I happened to gaze outside to watch as the sunset colors rapidly changed and rearranged the village scene below. Upon arriving home that evening I quickly penned my recollections:


The winter village dwells in shadow,

As the afternoon departs,

Only the church spire basks in sunlight,

Like the glow of a thousand hearts,

Bare tree branches form a hazy mist,

Of browns and blacks and grays,

As the blanket below tints of subtle blue,

Upon these frozen February days.


Yet up above, against purple cloud,

A steeple burning bright,

Standing tall and stoic and proud,

In winter's fading sunlight,

Calling out across snowscape, aloud,

Within approaching twilight,

Now tinged with pink above her cemetery crowd,

A ghostly, yet holy and beautiful sight.


Saturday & Sunday

Lately, I've taken to smoking a pipe on Saturday afternoons after arriving home from the mail route (my second job), and sometimes on Sundays while I'm out puttering around the garage (my salvation!). There's something about holding that miniature chimney in cold hands upon a winter's day that sprouts cheery thoughts, and which sets my mind to simpler notions, such as how to rhyme with words like "melt" and "slumber."

And so, recently, after changing the oil in the car upon a Sunday afternoon, and then lighting up afterwards, I sat down in the garage upon a small stepladder and penned the following upon the page of a notebook in which I keep track of past oil changes, a page smeared with fingerprints of old motor oil, the proof of battles waged against the machine ... and won.

{I was going to attribute this little ditty to my alter ego, the lunatic poet Thomas John McSheey, but he can write his own stuff from now on!}


Wisps of smoke and warmest thoughts,

Drift from brick chimney tops,

The village settles down to golden slumber,

Hopes and wishes; hopes and dreams,

Travel across frozen ponds and streams,

The hearth forever burns with seasoned lumber.


Ghosts of former blessed things,

Like a bell across the snowscape rings,

Calling home the holy toward  inner space,

Yet like the winter, away we will melt,

Arising from puddles with sunbeams felt,

To settle as raindrops upon a distant place.


Jack Sheedy

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