It is me again, joining the Poetry Friday community that is hosted this week by one of my favourite bloggers, Tabatha Yeatts from The Opposite of Indifference.
While this book is technically not about dragons, mermaids, and vampires – it does speak about a different way of seeing and being – which is how fantasy is born. The quiet that is required, allowing beauty to emerge, in all its winter-y glory.
Winter Is Coming
Written by: Tony Johnston Illustrated by: Jim LaMarche
Published by: A Paula Wiseman Book: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ISBN: 1442472510 (ISBN13: 9781442472518)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
The first book I read of Tony Johnston was Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace which turned me into a veritable fan. While this book is not what one would call a collection of poems, the whole narrative is broken down into lyrical verse that (thankfully) does not rhyme and does tell a beautiful story of the season passing, the imagery filling one’s sensibilities with quiet and beauty. Even the endpapers are gorgeous (see below):
Here, the reader is introduced to a young, introspective girl who experiences the outdoors, observing the natural world around her, sniffing the air for the scent of winter, and recording what she sees in a notebook that she brings everywhere with her.
The girl draws what she sees in her notebook, magnified by the telescope that she oftentimes brings along with her. Nothing escapes her notice, not the lynx with the Egypt eyes and the colour of the moon, its wildness something that she takes note of:
My mother says wild things
are full of light. I believe that.
I stay quiet, quiet
to keep it here –
for a moment.
If there is anything I love about December, it is the quiet hush it brings as a new year is ushered in – like the sound of the last note in a concert that has moved you to tears, or the last word in a life-changing book. Yet it is never quite so final, because there is also the feeling of anticipation for that which is to come next. The quiet waiting that calms the heart. Which is the reason why I am sharing this fragment from the book as my Poetry Friday offering this week:
Today no animals come.
The clearing and the trees are filled with
They are waiting for something.
Winter is coming.