February can be the longest month

I struggle to make my way into the day,
search for glimmers of a better future,
yet all that emerge are plastic hopes
which will melt before breakfast.

The tree outside my window
receives a visitation of blue tits
seemingly unconcerned
by the presence of a magpie;
not so the blackbirds
in the next tree along,
who eye it warily.

The natural world
has its own rhythms,
as, of course, do I;

slowed down this time of year
by cold and wet and darkness
which tempt me to withdraw,
pull the curtains, hide away.

I recognise this pattern
in the bigger picture
of all my years:

walk through to the bedroom,
open up my curtains,
watch the activity
at my bird-feeder;
Start my day again.


44 Responses to “February can be the longest month”

  1. Hi David,

    A good poem about how this time of year gets under your skin. And it is a leap year too! 29 days!

    After reading this poem about February I can recognize a lot in it, the questions about “the meaning of life and why bother” is on the walls of our homes this time of year I suppose, with grey daylight hardly making it better. It is tempting to hide from/for the outside. But it, this mood, this feeling of cold, will all pass and better days will come, that is what I sense in the ending.
    You started your day, again, watching the birds, again, and now you have written this poem, glimmers of the better future waiting to be found πŸ™‚

    Here the seagulls are trying to eat the food I left outside for the birds, but they are just as hungry as the little ones so they have a right too! One little robin chased them away though lol. πŸ™‚

    Arohanui and a big hug, have a nice day, indoors or out! (You probably do need to go to the shops anyway πŸ™‚ )


    • Hi Ina,

      It is indeed that time of year when I feel it is difficult to get going in the morning.
      But I have got going – been out to get a paper and go for a walk – I feel the better for that πŸ™‚

      And I am smiling about the little robin in your garden πŸ™‚

      There are 29 days this year and you will be in Whitby on the 29th – that is to look forward to πŸ™‚

      Arohanui and a big hug to you too πŸ™‚


      • Hi David,

        I do hope you got out of bed eventually lol. Spring will be around soon! More light and everything new in nature, my fav. time of the year!

        It is true, I will be in Whitby on leap day πŸ™‚ Where I live, leap day means the women can ask the men to dance. ? I am not sure about doing that…
        I almost thought I wouldn’t make it to England at all, but things are looking good πŸ™‚

        The birds are happy the snow is melting and so am I as I want to get outdoors again without the risk of another encoounter
        with the road bricks.

        For now I settle for just sitting up enjoying my tea (practizing for the UK πŸ™‚ ) and writing again!

        Arohanui πŸ™‚


      • Hi ina,

        Good to see you again and to know you are on the mend. I do hope you recover well enough to make the trip to Whitby.

        On leap day over here women can ask the men to marry them!!! πŸ™‚

        Take good care of yourself.


  2. This reminds me much about some days here — and I do the same thing, resist withdrawal and isolation, and get out and greet the day. Lovely words, as always.

  3. Elaine Randall English Says:

    Pressing “restart” with the buttons of memory always works for me….all in good time…..forward, march!

    • Big πŸ™‚

      “restart” works for me too Elaine.

      I will resist the march methinks, but take part in a gentle stroll and take time to listen to bird-song πŸ™‚


  4. I think you speak for many of us in the northern hemisphere, David. That’s what we all must do: open up those curtains, start the day again! Be more like those blue tits than the blackbirds! (Not easy though, is it?)

    • I do know John that I am not alone in feeling the way I do at this time of year.
      But I also know that given the current cold weather those blue tits live a much more precarious existence than I do.

      My very best to you


  5. This is a splendid read, David: melancholy in the very best sense, closely observed and filled with universal truths and experiences.
    Funny thing; I posted something along very smiliar lines earlier today, before I came over to read this. Two minds with but a single thought and all that. Thanks for sharing your insights and impressions with us.

    • Hi Nick,

      I read your post in my inbox before I came here to respond to comments. I smiled at the synchroicity.
      And I felt the better for having posted this poem πŸ™‚
      Thank you


  6. David, thanks for the glimpse of February mornings. I love
    “The natural world
    has its own rhythms,”

    It’s summertime here and today I left the house for the first time in two weeks. Sometimes it’s hard no matter what the season.

    Take care

    • Thank you Tricia,

      Sometimes it is indeed hard no matter what the season. I find summer difficult too – August is my least favourite month!!

      But understanding the rhythms makes it easier to believe that ‘This too shall pass’

      One of the reasons I buy a paper is that it gets me out of the house every day!!!

      Take care of yourself

  7. It’s always wonderful to learn I’m not alone. Your poems and the birds at my feeder remind me of that fact, for which I am grateful. Thank you for nourishing my Spirit through this virtual window feeder. πŸ˜‰

    • One of the great joys Kathleen of my presence on the Web is the realisation that I have true friends all over the world.

      There is great warmth in the knowledge that you and I in our different parts of the world get nourishment via our bird feeders. πŸ™‚

      Thank you my friend


  8. I like the honesty & hope of your poem David. Nature can be a great teacher & soother. You show that we can keep starting again in a positive way despite this time of the seasons.

  9. I love how you build a piece and there is that moment of serenity at the end.. t is a wonderful piece my friend..his

  10. splendid piece, David… and I too of course recognize this feeling, though I’ve been lucky to feel it less of late – I find more peace in winter days than I used to…

    beautifully written…

    • Thank you Sarah,

      I was well aware when I was writing this poem that I would not be alone in feeling February the way I do.
      But I take great comfort in the knowing that ‘This too will pass’ πŸ™‚

      Stay warm


  11. Perfect description of a February day!

  12. David,

    As you already know I love this poem.

    I particularly love the line “plastic hopes which will melt before breakfast”.

    I also like the way you draw a parallel between ourselves and nature, both maybe working on different “projects” but yet both requiring the essential rhythm to life.

    And the way you digress from yourself to nature and then back in order to start your day again – it’s lovely!

    Love you loads



    • Thank you Christine,

      Sometimes I have doubts about my poems. Your re-assurance on this one was appreciated. πŸ™‚

      I do find that moving my outlook from inward to out my window does help me get into my day in a better frame of mind.

      The blue tits have been to visit again whilst I have been typing this response πŸ™‚

      Love you loads


      • I, too, love that line, David.

        I feel about December as you do about February – would quite happily shut out everything until it is all over! xxx

      • I always find it fascinating Elizabeth how different times of the year work for different people.

        My worst month is actually August!!

        Take care


  13. Hi David,

    This is such a wonderful poem! It’s like a good friend sitting down saying “I know how you feel.” It has very relatable appeal.
    I think you’ve described the melancholy that creeps in come those winter days perfectly.
    Like Christine I like the way you’ve swtiched from your inner world to the outworld of the birds at the feeder . For me they combine to create a sense of hope. All things pass and with a push we can carry on with a more optimistic hope to overcome these days.

    I feel a sense of the dreary in your Februrarys. The last three days here have been cold overcast and raining, not summer at all!
    That said I could imagine that the winters must be incrediblty diffcult for many people in the norrthern hemisphere with so little light and the biitng cold. I can only hope that spring wont be delayed for you.

    Take good care.
    Stay warm and well rugged up!

    and K’sOTC πŸ™‚

    • Hi Tikarma,

      “It’s like a good friend sitting down saying β€œI know how you feel.””

      I think that is the very best compliment I have ever received on one of my poems. *Blush* Thank you very much. I feel warm now. πŸ™‚

      We are in a spell of bitterly cold weather at the moment which includes freezing fog!! It is very easy to succumb to the temptation to say ‘Sod it’ and hide away. But my curtains remain open, and the birds continue to lift my spirits πŸ™‚

      Every day when I put on my coat, my scarf, my gloves and my wooly hat your phrase ‘well rugged up’ comes to my mind and I smile πŸ™‚

      Look after yourself.
      I hope your week is going well

      and K’sOTC πŸ™‚

  14. Opening up the curtains from a different window makes such a difference, David!! Lovely, lyrical poem that expresses this, especially the comparisons of difference bird in different trees with different reactions to the morning! Just like most of us! PS. Once again, I am having trouble getting email notifications of your new posts. I just clicked on your gravatar on a comment at Seasons Poetry to check on you again. I really do NOT know what the problem is, for you are listed in my blogroll!

    • Thank you Granbee,

      I had an email today telling me you had subscribed so I guess it eventually worked πŸ™‚

      The natural world, if we take the time to observe it, can teach us much about ourselves methinks πŸ™‚


  15. slowed down this time of year
    by cold and wet and darkness
    which tempt me to withdraw,
    pull the curtains, hide away.

    These lines are the key to the poem, of course. Ethel is sitting with me this evening, though, and says that such moments are the precursor to a time of enlightenment, that we go through the dark days of February and the slow times of our waking before we suddenly feel light inside our understanding.

    I recognise this pattern
    in the bigger picture
    of all my years:

    which means that we all have these moments in our lives. But the point is that you got on with it–and Ethel’s magical promise is waiting for you.

    • I also love the tits, the magpies, and the wary blackbirds.

    • Ethel is a wise woman Tom.

      I actually went out on Wednesday to commit myself to the first steps along a new project which I expect will engross me and take me out of myself. I needed the dark days to show me that this new project would be worthwhile. When my ‘comfort zone’ is no longer entirely comfortable then I need to take some action!!

      I love Ethel’s phrase “feel light inside our understanding”. Just exactly so!!

      As the project proceeds I will certainly post some details on here. It will take a little while before that happens – the hard work of learning comes first. πŸ™‚

      But I have great faith that “Ethel’s magic promise” will come true.

      My very best to you both


  16. David…those curtains you open, are they not wings? You taking on your wings each morning? I just love the juxtaposition you created here with those curtains and the birds outside. Beautiful imagery and symbolism.

  17. Hi David,

    The month we start to long for spring, very well expressed.
    Today we had blues and frost, but I rather have that than those drizzly days πŸ™‚


  18. well that feeder can get pretty busy……

    sorry i’m behind on reading again…. i’m going to try a new system where have the blogs i visit bookmarked on a browser–rather than trying to find them on the subscription list. magpies are colorful and interesting… had one by name of Alvarez outside a nursing home once. mostly i think birds are better left to the birds…..get a chipmunk in a tree…now THAT is sumppin to hear πŸ™‚

    • Big πŸ™‚

      What a wonderful name for a magpie!!

      I have never seen a chipmunk for real so if one were to appear in my tree that really would be ‘sumppin’! That’s a good word – I can probably use that!

      Thank you Eileen


  19. Hi, David

    You’ve absolutely captured a universal feeling here; the first line is especially powerful. I was immediately reminded of Eliot’s lines, and wondered if they were partly the inspiration for your title?:

    April is the cruellest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain.

    • Hi BH,

      I am not sure whether the title was inspired by Eliot – although every time I write something like that his lines do come to mind.

      What I do know is that the line was originally within the poem – taking it out as the title freed up the poem and let it flow. πŸ™‚

      Thank you

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