Herod Winter by Mark Nielsen, 4-18-11
This is a mean mid-April snow
I see on the ground as I wake.
The coldhearted last-ditch effort of
a failing, flailing, white-knuckled terrified Herod
to remain in power,
even as Savior Spring is being born
in some unknown province nearby.
Herod kills these firstborn flowers every year,
Old Whitebeard wants to snuff out
the delicate flowers
on my weeping cherry tree,
just as it emerges from the sturdy womb
of branch and bud cover,
before it can reach full-flowering
and outshine him.
Why is he threatened?
What harm, I think, can a ten day flowering possibly do,
to the iron-fisted hold
that meanness and cold
have upon this world?
And then it comes to me–
As if from the tip of my mind’s tongue
as I taste sweet memories of past springs:
Fruit, my friends.
A sweet harvest
of justice and sustenance.
Herod Winter fears the cherry-red bloodstains
Of the martyr-king’s blood on the prince’s hand,
The martyr-king who will steal his son’s throne
And sit upon it forever.