A Good Home

A “Pourem”

The thing below is NOT a poem.

I’ve decided to call it a ‘pourem’. 

Words that poured from my heart and onto the page, without invitation.  

What Remains

Blog Photo - Japanese Maple 2 in early November

The colours have come and gone

You know the ones

Revered in poems and short stories

In blog posts and books

The reds, the golds, the crimsons

Deep pinks and oranges and apricots

Dazzling us with their glamour

Then falling in the cold winds of November

Turning brown and dry on the earth below

Blog Photo - Birds on Branches


And what remains?


What remains is what was here before:

The sturdy trunks of oaks and maples

Rooted in the hillsides of our little valley

With grey-brown bark their only cover 

The birches, beeches, cedars

The dogwood, spruce and willows

Branches giving rest to birds

In flight

The robins in their dozens

The doves in their pairs

A jay, flashing its blue, white, black and grey

An avian caravan on its way

The annual trip to somewhere warm

 Blog Photo - Cardinal in Snow

And what remains?


A few brave ones remain with us:

Some chickadees, some doves

The cardinals, scarlet coat glowing

In the lace of the evergreen tree

The squirrels, in grey or black fur 

Thickened for winter

The memories, of salmon by the dozen

The hundreds, perhaps thousands

Struggling their way upstream

To spawn

Of crows gathering in tall trees, watching

For fish killed in the effort

And the thought that someone saw a bear here once

And heard the coyote howl

 Blog Photo - Stream 1


What remains was ever thus:

The iron-grey water of the stream

Gliding between its banks

Or rushing

Breaking barriers with ease

A glint of silver where water surpasses rocks

In a never-ending journey toward the lake

And the first snow on trees and grass

And white on white, un-peopled chairs left out

To overwinter

And the knowledge that in this valley

Autumn is always followed by winter

And winter by spring

And if we’re lucky, we too remain

To see another summer

And perhaps another autumn

When the colours return

In glory.

Blog Photo - Snow on Chairs

Dedicated to friends Carol and Amanda.

Photos by Hamlin Grange.

75 thoughts on “A “Pourem””

  1. Call it what you like Cynthia – beautifully written and so relatable as I look out my window on a gray November day!

  2. Pourems are the best poems. Words that pour out and align themselves and offered to others so they too can share in the spilling of thoughts that inspire and charm. Thank you.

    1. Me too, but only after the fact. These ones were insistent on being expressed and wrote themselves through a hapless instrument — me. Took roughly ten minutes which is very fast for me.

  3. “White on White” – my mind was filled with images of a starkly beautiful Northern winter! Oh how I miss that. Your poem brought me a little closer when reading the lines. I love it!

  4. Your pourem captures exactly what has happened on our little piece of land – so many colours turned to brown, but still the green accents of cedar trees and the red flashes of cardinals…rather Christmasy I’d say.

  5. Oh how nicely poured out, Cynthia! And saying “look at the pared down beauty left.” I like that. There’s part of a poem that I know and can’t remember the poets name right now. I think he was South African and spent some time in Spain in the 30s; he isn’t know for this type of poetry but one of the stanzas is something like: I love to see when leave depart/the clear anatomy arrive/ winter, the paragon of art/that kills all forms of life and feeling/ save what is pure and will survive. Your poem reminded me of that one.

  6. A beautiful pourem, Cynthia! Words that pour from the heart upon the page will always be as dazzling as those autumn leaves. What remains is the writer’s soul, sturdy and true to itself.

  7. Whatever you call it, those are words with a lovely lilt and flow that bring memories of each distinct season of home. In my new home, alas, it almost never snows and spring starts in March. I do like that part and I don’t miss shovelling the white stuff.

  8. I really enjoyed your poem. It brings back the days of when I did live in seasons. We are experiencing all the seasons this week going from freezing to nearly 80f. I’ll look out for your birds.

  9. You describe with art the change of seasons from the summer to the coming winter, Cynthia . I posted on the same topic but only with some photos . I am under the charm of your pourem.
    love ❤

  10. Beautiful pourem, Cynthia. You made up a great word that describes exactly what you mean by it. The seasons come and go, but all the beautiful things remain, and our life is still rich with experiences, happy discoveries, joy and true friendship.

  11. I love your pourem! I enjoy the way your words dance in a circle; slowing and then pausing for a moment and then off again like leaves and snowflakes blown on the breeze. It is such hopeful writing. Thank you, Cynthia!

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