The full moon of December is no summer serenader’s moon,
no sentimental moon of silvery softness to match
the rhyming of the ballad singer.
It is a winter’s moon with more than fourteen hours of
darkness to rule in cold splendor.
It is not a silvery moon at all. This is a moon of ice, cold and distant.
But it shimmers the hills where there is a frosting of snow,
and it makes the frozen valleys gleam.
It dances on the dark surface of an up-country pond.
It weaves fantastic patterns on the snow in the woodland.
It is the sharp edge of the night wind, the silent feather of the great horned owl’s wing, the death-scream of unwary rabbit when the red fox has made its pounce.
This winter’ moon is a silent companion for the nightwalker,
a deceptive light that challenges the eye.
It dims the huddled hemlocks on the hillside and it sharpens the hilltop horizon.
It wreathes the walker’s head in the shimmer of his own breath, and it seems to whistle in his footsteps.
It makes wreaths of chimney smoke and sweetens the smell of the hearth fire.
It is the long winter night in cold splendor,
night wrapped in frost, spangled and sequined and remote as Arcturus.
~Hal Borland (1900-1978), Twelve Moons of The Year, 1979