“January’s Scion”

“January’s Scion”
(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

January’s scion, born of winter
messenger of midnight’s dark domain
harbinger of fearful futures
herald of the past’s persistence
bearer of remembrances of
what shall surely be

I’ve succumbed to January’s Janus
peering ever forward and behind
frozen firmly on the threshold
of what was and what may soon be
doomed to bear the weight of all things
for eternity

there are reasons January haunts me
memories unmeltable come spring
anguished glacial recollections
nurse at doleful mountain’s bosom
hiemal tempest screams its sinful
arctic lullaby

blizzards pummel me across the decades
breath sucked from my lungs I cannot scream
woeful winters resurrected
stain the present, tinge the future
I cannot let go, my tired
mind encased in ice

mountain path from past to future voided
bone-white drifts of January’s wrath
stalk the trail in hulking silence
passage is impossible here
miles of dead denuded forest
bar my way ahead

I can’t scry the future in the darkness
terrifying in obscurity
thrumming rumbling shakes the earth as
cloying caustic vapors fester
sulfur-scented volcanism
lies ahead for me

close my eyes and I can see the carnage
close my ears and I can hear the cries
spewing peaks of raining cinders
fire-bomb the desolation
I can sense the future tremble
in uncertainty

memories entombed in frigid white flakes
worries of the future caked with ash
undead past alive and raging
unseen future salivating
waiting restlessly for me as
time moves ever on

26 thoughts on ““January’s Scion”

  1. Utterly beautiful! As always. 🙂I have read it twice, and found these lines to be wonderfully captivating,
    “blizzards pummel me across the decades
    breath sucked from my lungs I cannot scream
    woeful winters resurrected
    stain the present, tinge the future
    I cannot let go, my tired
    mind encased in ice”
    Wow!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Aaysid. I liked the idea of being frozen in memories and afraid of an uncertain future to the point of being unable to be in the here and now. Winter is so symbolic and inspiring and lends itself so easily to poetry both hopeful and bleak. I appreciate your kind words so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These meaningful thoughts carried me way deep into the feelings of hardship and despondency that comes with January, especially when it’s even that freaking cold. M’hhh.. what a riveting piece! May spring forth hope and inspiration. I love your works, Mike. Keep writing. 👏🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very deep thoughts Mike. I felt each line, especially these which made me feel the sense of being trapped in more than one way:

    “mountain path from past to future voided
    bone-white drifts of January’s wrath
    stalk the trail in hulking silence
    passage is impossible here
    miles of dead denuded forest
    bar my way ahead”

    The cold in your words as you describe the past then transition to a shaky future that is “spewing peaks of raining cinders” was very interesting. Like there’s no hope in either path. There’s a lot to take away here and your poetry and thoughts really make me reflect. Thank you for sharing, Mike. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kirsten. There’s a quirk about the ancient Roman god Janus (for whom January was named)–he has two faces, one looking forward and the other looking behind. I wanted to use that imagery to depict the feeling of being regretful of the past and fearful of the future, hence being unable to be in the present. I liked the imagery of a frigid past that never thaws (thus keeping us frozen in our memories) and the uncertain future, full of trembling and terror (at what we can’t see, much less control). I liked the extremes of ice and fire, and it felt like a good way to examine my own life (especially now) when it comes to regrets and worries. We get to a certain age and all of this stuff takes on a deeper sense of urgency. And…well…I just really enjoy writing dark stuff! 😀 So, there’s that, too! 🙂 But seriously, it’s on my mind an awfully lot now, mortality and a shaky future and so much going wrong in this world. I’m just glad I was able to write something. It’s been a month since I wrote anything other than haiku. Lastly, my birthday is in January, so I’m literally “January’s scion.” Thanks for your keen observations! I always enjoy your comments. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had to read up on Janus and re-read your poem. I love this even more. It’s amazing the spell winter casts on our mood, invoking the deepest memories and writing is a powerful remedy, even the dark stuff that can help us reach the light.

        I hope you have/had a Happy Birthday Mike! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “blizzards pummel me across the decades
    breath sucked from my lungs I cannot scream
    woeful winters resurrected
    stain the present, tinge the future
    I cannot let go, my tired
    mind encased in ice”
    You make pain and misery look so beautiful. I think you’re going to find your entire poem here in the comments section. That’s the allure of your work, Mike. I used to love the cold and snow when I was a child. But now I can’t even bear a foggy winter. Maybe it’s not the outside but the inside that’s chilled. Such precious writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks, Terveen! Your kindness means so much to me. I have similar feelings–although I’ve never really liked winter, I used to enjoy it a lot more as a kid. I do think it’s more of an internal shift that causes me to retreat from winter. Childhood leaves so much to the imagination, and there’s plenty of time to seek out adventure in everything. As we age, real life encroaches on us, responsibilities dog us constantly and sometimes our inner child withers and dies. Then we’re no longer able to enjoy anything. I may write lots of dark poetry, but my imagination is alive and well, and it’s a delight to explore somber topics and give them concrete form. I realize not everyone enjoys melancholy poetry and prose, but I do, and the thrill of creation is a singular joy. One reason I love your writing so much (as well as Kirsten’s and others) is that you’re not afraid to tackle darker themes. It’s part of life, whether we like it or not, so why not explore it? Anyway, thanks again for your support. It makes my day. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I read your comment to Kirsten and then took a second trip through the poem. This is beautiful, Mike, and profoundly familiar. I think many people have those moments of feeling frozen, unable to move out of the past, and yet equally fearful of the future. These are uncertain times as the foundations we’ve relied on for stability seem like quicksand beneath our feet. Your imagery is stunning and words full of epic power. I enjoyed this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Diana. Part of the inspiration for this one was my experience with PTSD therapy (EMDR). I had a bad reaction to a couple of sessions and now, three years later, I’m still experiencing some physical symptoms from that reaction. The past trauma is still there, and the future is most uncertain as I try to figure out my way through this morass. I feel very much stuck in the past and fearful of the future. I know I’m not the only one struggling in this manner. Like you mentioned, things are so tenuous at the moment here and abroad, with no way of knowing what will happen at any given moment. I appreciate your kind words so much and your support and encouragement mean the world to me. Thanks again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s concerning that you had such a terrible experience with EMDR. It’s not supposed to go that way, obviously, and I’m so sorry that it made things worse. Writing is a good way to process this stuff and I wish you a creative and wondrous journey into healing. Thanks for sharing your self with us. Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks, Diana. Yes, something went wrong. Most of 2019 was spent in doctors’ offices being tested and scanned and poked, to no avail–they couldn’t find any physical cause for the array of weird symptoms that came on so suddenly. I’m not sure what happened. Still trying to figure it out now. I’ve read about similar reactions (“abreactions”). Most of the symptoms finally faded (severe dizziness, shakiness, shortness of breath, light-headedness, numbness in my face, etc.) but I still have no feeling from my knees down, which means walking is difficult and I can no longer drive. I don’t know what else to do. So I try to write about this stuff as a way to deal with the emotional aspect of everything. Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. a very unique way of crafting a deep powerful thought over the world’s future. The title, “January’s scion” and the first stanza, is the poet’s message to the human activities and the world’s premise. The following 7 stanzas wakens the readers through the eyes and inner feelings of the speaker/the poet in a graduating level of depth to see and feel the existing world and ….redirect the readers back to the “scion”. This poem’s awakening power is un-erasable! Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for yet another in-depth analysis. There are many levels that can be seen in this one, both personal and global. We seem to be so intent on hanging onto the past that we’ve endangered our planet’s future. Instead of letting go and accepting that things much change, we hold tightly to old ways and watch in horror as the planet burns (fossil fuels, racism, economic inequality, etc.). On a personal level, this speaks of my own inner struggle to let go of the past and face an uncertain future, knowing I’m not prepared for what will come. The two-faced Roman god Janus seemed like an ideal metaphor for this conundrum. I had originally titled it “January’s Child” (which I liked better), but upon finishing it I ran a search to see if this title had been used already and, sure enough, it had (books, songs, poetry). So, a title change was in order. I figured “scion” fits in with the other terms used in the first stanza (harbinger, messenger, herald, bearer). Thanks as always for your insightful comments. I always look forward to what you have to say. 🙂

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      1. You’re so welcome Mike. It’s my pleasure. I’m glad and you are inspiring so many here in our community by your support which is so appreciated. I’m just noticing I’m not following you… so sorry I thought I was but I will now.
        🌻💖

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve got me smiling, Cindy! Thanks so much. There are so many people in this community who have inspired and supported me since I began my blog six months ago. I love to encourage people and lift them up–I suppose it’s the coach in me (I coached youth baseball and basketball for six years). A kind word goes so far, you know? And it can change lives, too. So, thank you for your kindness and support, too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So glad to hear that Mike! It’s a wonderful community we share and I too feel blessed by it. I know all about the coach inside and what a great contribution you made. My husband coached all 4 of our kids in both sports and loved it so I know well the dedication. As for me, I was the schleper, driving them 2 and fro, missing half games 🤷‍♀️. He got all the credit and still does but I remind them of my duties.. 🤣lol

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, everyone’s important, especially the moms who are the drivers and responsible for all the hard stuff. They’re the unsung heroes. 🙂 I miss coaching but I’m grateful I had those years of teaching the kids to enjoy the games. I got to coach a couple of my nephews and it was so fun. 🙂

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