Ballad of a Cold December Night

The wind howls like a wild beast
And then vanishes into the distance
The walls moan and weeze
Offering little resistance
To the cold bite and the shivering spite of the midnight’s tempest crying

The shadows of candle light
Gather and dance upon the ceiling
Snowflakes watch us at the window sill
Crouched around the fire kneeling
As the frigid air creates our despair, we stare and watch the embers slowly dying

Moonlight has crept though the door
Despair drops like the cold to te floor
Our temptations can be felt more and more
Of that there can be no denying

Fate’s whisper entices the room
As we’re slowly drawn together
Destiny’s hymn is calling
And drowns out the raging weather
But the rapid sense of this truly intense feeling has sent us crawling toward desire

Under a veil of silence
Tension crumbles into ashes
The calm of the evening
Makes it return while the storm passes
Now all is done except for all that can be kept: which is nothing but what is left for us to inspire

The snowflakes are silent; the shadows no longer dance
The spark for each other we hold in our trembling hands
Our nervous eyes meet in a sideways glance
As they glow from the dimly lit fire

Romance is falling
And cascades over us like soft rain
Our twisted silence
Takes a bow before the refrain
And in disguise, hidden behind our eyes, our heart’s beat, echo, and cry with all their might

The fever between us
Rises slow with each breath we take
In an unbroken stare
Our eyes speak thoughts that we can’t retake
With the last dying ember, on a night that we shouldn’t remember, we surrender our restraint for the call we hear deep inside

Passion takes owe temptation’s place
Our lips slowly meet in a log soft embrace
Our eyes are locked our fingers are laced
On this quiet cold cold December night


By  Marshall Hanlon, no bio included.

4 thoughts on “Ballad of a Cold December Night

  1. Lovely and captivating poem, but the apparent typographical errors distract from the impact. Would love it if you could republish with those corrected to confirm the author’s intent . This would allow me to re-read it without the distraction; I think I would enjoy it even more fully.


      • Tamara,

        First, let me say that re-reading this poem confirms the admiration I have for it: the impact for me is strong enough to bear multiple re-readings; I feel the tension shared between the characters as it builds, replacing the distraction of the storm, and find the experience enticing enough to return several times for yet another reading. (I can imagine no more desirable response to anything I might write than that the reader wants to repeat the experience — even compared to the impulse to seek out more of my work.)

        I love working without punctuation, and tend to use it only to narrow the focus more tightly than I usually would. What distracted me in this case was what appeared to be misspellings; I was hoping for corrections that would confirm the author’s intent on the following:
        — verse 3 line 2: the vs. te?
        — verse 9 line 1: over vs. owe?
        — verse 9, line long vs. log?

        These apparent typos leave me uncertain enough to open a fourth possibility at one other point:
        verse 4, line 4: its vs. it? The difference in meaning there is substantial enough (“its” allows the calm to linger just a bit longer, rather than making the tension return more abruptly) and I can’t tell whether “it” was the author’s real intent.

        Even though I’m occasionally distracted (apart from the typos) by turns of phrase that feel a bit forced and leave me wanting something that feels more natural, I’m powerfully struck by the poem as a whole — the way it builds the scenario and many evocative turns of phrase. I expect I will continue enjoying it for some time, and thank you very much noticing it and making it available to the rest of us.



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