Winter in the Eye

"When I look winter in the eye, I am looking down dense corridors of trees."

Winter in the Eye: New & Selected Poems brings together Joan McBreen's recent work with poems selected from her two previous collections. This volume captures her elegant and finely-tuned lyric voice.

Winter in the Eye A subtle simplicity of language makes her poems of place and home all the more powerful; highlighting moments of universal awareness and reaching beyond the poet's life into our own.

McBreen's recent poems about illness and loss are written with a spare, unflinching beauty. Her moving, elegiac tone is ultimately a celebration, as darkness gives way to light.

This is a poetry that seeks and reaches toward harmony, and truth.


In winter there comes a hush
as if illness had swerved towards us.
We speak of it in quieter tones
believing we can accept harsher weather.

When Gretel decided
they would go together deep into the forest,
she became afraid. Would they lose one another,
would the path disappear?
When she called her brother's name over and over,
he did not come back.

When I look winter in the eye,
I am looking down dense corridors of trees.

Sunlight falls on kitchen tiles and chairs,
solidifies worktops, appliances, stacked papers.
Pictures of friends and children
hang on shadowed walls.

I move into this vacancy.

Outside late roses are within reach,
wet leaves clog gutters and drains.

Watching the light flood across the garden
I am startled by a bird beating
its wings against the window-pane.