As I step out from the hotel, the crisp, cold air
expunges the fug of a centrally heated existence from my lungs.
They are cleaned, purged, refreshed.
Steam trails exit my mouth, reminding me of childhood dragons and trains.

My sense of smell returns.
I entertain the aroma of coffee, burgers, steak and cars.
With each breath my lungs and nose are further scarified.
I feel human again.

The snow-covered road and path have two roles each in this scene.
They muffle sound so that everything is quietened,
but enhance the light spilling from the shops and street lamps.
Everything is illuminated in a warm filtered light.
The harsh light of day that flattens,
is replaced with the romantic, inviting light of eventide.
It encourages me to stride out into the unknown.

The slow soft crunch of my footsteps is starkly contrasted by
the staccato slaps of the feet behind me.
A lightly clad young lady deftly rushes past, running for the sanctuary of the bus.
Running from warmth to warmth.
Running with such poise through the snow.
Something my semi-shuffling gate can only marvel at.

In the town square all is white.
As if someone has laid down a huge, perfect dust sheet.
Through this erupts the huge Christmas tree, proclaiming its colourful message of hope.

I crunch up the hill through the avenue of bare trees.
Each one carrying its crown of lights to further signpost my way.
They invite and draw me onward.

The hill is surmounted by the church.
It’s single, modernist spire shoots into the night sky,
illuminated by its necklace of white lights.
Lights that capture the falling snowflakes in their unblinking, cyclops gaze.

Cradling the church is the park, with its Narnia-like scene.
Well-trodden paths in the snow meander between naked white trees.
Trees that shoot their sparkling crystal white branches heavenward.
Branches looking like they have been dusted with icing sugar.

In the still I almost expect to hear the approach of the White Witch’s sleigh.
To hear the sshhhh of metal runners on snow.
Should I fear?
No, for I know Aslan is near.

This poem was something different for me.

I’ve started going to a monthly poetry group, attended by people who know vastly more about poetry and its forms than I do! Each month we are given the challenge to write a poem on a given topic and in a given style.

Usually I wait for inspiration/prompting before writing so I found I had to really work at this, but it was good to do.

I then found myself wondering whether I should even post it here. But then I started to think about what I was thinking about. If I don’t post the poem here then I’m really saying that there is some sort of spiritual/secular “divide” in my work. I don’t believe this is the case at all. As a child of God everything I do has his fingerprint on it; I have been created to create. Why should I hold back sharing what I’ve written?

If you are wondering about the title, Lahti is a medium-sized town in southern Finland.


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