Winter Eyrie: “Until the Lillies” by Jen Rose Yokel

In this shivery, withered start of spring, I’m delving into some books that have sat on my to-read list for too long, including the turbulent, mythical beauty of N.D. Wilson’s Ashtown Burials series and the humor and honesty of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. The evenings here are brighter; red-bellied woodpeckers are hopping among the trees; cold winds are stirring up autumn’s leftover leaves.

Today’s contribution to the Winter Eyrie project inspires me to see and treasure all these precious things, the bright and the bleak. Jen Rose Yokel is a fellow New Englander, so I can appreciate her poetic vision of this region all the more. She picked a difficult form, the French ballade, and spun images of abiding and awakening with such grace that she made it seem effortless. Enjoy!

Until the Lilies
(a ballade for wintering)

by Jen Rose Yokel

Image by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

Fickle March comes with a false spring,
swinging between robin egg blue
skies and a roaring wind that stings
and claws at our coats. Is it dew
or snowmelt that soaks the grass? You
see color drain from the world, keep
fighting the darkness to get through
until the lilies wake from sleep.

So these are the days of wintering.
In this gray, any space will do
to make a haven from shivering
crowds, above the gray snow’s purview.
Climb up the stairs and you’ll find true
rest, a soft, kind stillness that sweeps
over weariness, sheltering you.
Until the lilies wake from sleep,

small stars of light will blaze on strings
to brighten darkest corners. New
scents — garlic, spice, and soup — will bring
warmth before the blooms. All through
each night, we’ll pause and review
favorite tales, and tea will steep,
and records spin, and hope renew
until the lilies wake from sleep.

In the cold earth, everything grew
before spreading into green. So keep
winter, wait until we come to
the day the lilies wake from sleep.

Jen Rose Yokel

Jen Rose Yokel is a poet, writer, and spiritual director. Her words have appeared at The Rabbit Room, She Reads Truth, and other publications, and she released her first poetry collection, Ruins & Kingdoms, in 2015. Originally from Central Florida, she now makes her home in Fall River, Massachusetts with her husband Chris, their rescue dog, and an assortment of books and houseplants. Find more of her writing at jenroseyokel.com.

One thought on “Winter Eyrie: “Until the Lillies” by Jen Rose Yokel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s