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The Marsh in Winter
Timothy Walsh

If you stand and listen,
you will hear the voice.
Reeds sharp as rapiers rasp the wind.
Frost creaks in the trees.
Sunlight, ice-bright, falls from the sky.
Scattered cedars and junipers loom like shadows.
Sheathed in ice, a willow droops heavily
     across the path.
Driven snow packs the creviced bark of cottonwoods.
Once-hidden bird nests now plainly marked
     by a white cap of snow….
Out on the marsh, blue water shows through shifting ice.
Tall brown reeds, slim as dancers, bend in the breeze.
A hundred thousand cattails, each one lit
     by the low-angled light of a westering sun,
each brown seed head blazing
     like the head of a saint.
From Wild Apples (Parallel Press, 2004).
Used here with the author’s permission.



Timothy Walsh grew up in New Jersey but has spent the past three decades in Wisconsin. He currently directs the Cross-College Advising Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Timothy’s latest collection of poetry is When the World Was Rear-Wheel Drive: New Jersey Poems (Main Street Rag Publishing). His inspiration comes from walking or bicycling whenever he can, and being on or near the water whenever possible—­canoeing, kayaking, sailing, or sitting by the shore. He also enjoys tending a garden of roses, climbing vines, and fruit trees while the garden tends to him. Learn more about Timothy at







Post New Comment:
Sharon Urdahl:
How exquisitely written...thank you.
Posted 04/01/2014 05:34 PM
How lovely to be within this reflection of yours. It transports me to where I am not.
Posted 02/28/2014 09:12 AM
Beautiful poem. I agree with Donna about saying it out loud. It's late that I'm reading this, but I'm so glad it was still here. Wisconsin is beautiful-- As is your writing.
Posted 02/26/2014 10:00 PM
I really like this, especially the last few lines...
Posted 02/26/2014 08:29 PM
Ginny C.:
Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem.
Posted 02/26/2014 04:31 PM
Donna Pflueger:
Your poem is as lovely to read as it is to say outloud. Incredible use of assonance and alliteration. Thank you for the stunning images!
Posted 02/26/2014 03:42 PM
the last stanza will stay with me for a long time...achingly beautiful. thank you! Sharon Auberle
Posted 02/26/2014 11:01 AM
I meant unique, but I just might coin "sunique". :)
Posted 02/26/2014 09:59 AM
I especially like the last lines-- sunique, surprise. Thanh you!
Posted 02/26/2014 09:57 AM
What a truly lovely poem, the images and uses of the senses is spot on. I love to walk and poems from nature inspirations are some of my very favorites.
Posted 02/26/2014 07:55 AM
What a gorgeous the ending!
Posted 02/26/2014 07:24 AM
each brown seed head blazing like the head of a saint. !! love that. winter landscapes have a beauty all their own. thanks, tim
Posted 02/26/2014 06:58 AM
Maryann Hurtt:
So absolutely describes the reason I love (and survive) snowshoeing in winter. Thank you.
Posted 02/26/2014 06:04 AM

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