Long Hard Fall

A good bit of this song for week 41 of #songaweek2016 was inspired by this poignant article by Andrew Sullivan, which was the cover story for the print version of New York magazine, which was sitting on my coffee table when I wrote the song. The headline on the cover reads “Put Down Your Phone.” The article discusses Sullivan’s identification of and struggle with his own “distraction sickness,” and its title and subtext read, “I Used to Be a Human Being: An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.”

And I was thinking about fall, this seasonal descent into dark and cold and emptiness, when organisms break down and fall asleep, and look dead, come so apparently close to death, but somewhere deep inside there’s a dream of spring, of impossible things happening, of starting over, giving it all another go.

Put your phone down, take it easy
sing a song with me
what is this old world coming to anyway?
When you think you’ve got it made cause you’re the top of the heap
of the people all sleeping their lives away

It’s a long hard fall into lonely winter
and summer’s a fading memory
it’s a long hard fall into lonely winter
and spring’s an impossible dream

Hold your hand out, let me touch it
let me know there’s life
out beyond my self-contained planet
all those dreams they made us dream when we were only sixteen
are now battered and broken to bits

somewhere there’s somebody, something, somehow
and nowhere there’s nothing at all

keep your faith in evolution
let your life unfold
give it time and anything can happen
from the ashes of the past rises new and resilienter
you even brillianter now

It’s a long hard fall into lonely winter
and summer’s a fading memory
it’s a long hard fall into lonely winter
and spring’s an impossible – springs an impossible,
ever, eternally, springs an impossible dream

One Year in a Minnesota Prairie Town

This is a cycle of poems I wrote while living in my hometown of Owatonna, Minnesota, a few years ago. Today, a snowy gray day in February (my least favorite month, even here in my new town in Colorado), I found myself thinking of the winter poems here, and hoping in the spring and summer – thankful for the continuing growth and change of seasons.

One Year in a Minnesota Prairie Town

Early Winter

George MacDonald said

“Winter is only a spring too weak and feeble for us to see that it is living.”

So where is the end of the year?

The seasons, like space,

Appear to have no boundaries

But, turning and turning,

Move all life along some invisible thread.

Mid Winter

I almost forgot

And nearly remembered

In between sleeps

Late Winter

Hoary white

Frozen forgetting

Pewter-skied afternoon.

A filmy burning eye

Distant low

Blurs unfeelingly

To darkness.


Embryos stir

Ever so slightly


Early Spring

Before departure

The snow expands

To jagged chunks of salt and sand.

When it recedes

Instead of seashells

We find

Trash and lost things.

Mid Spring

There’s an afternoon time and a garden place

Where the sun warms me well


The sun,

And you –

Peeking up at me

Poking through soil

Perennial but new.

Late Spring

Might be the last morning this yellow-haired girl

Pushes this primary-blue baby doll stroller

Might be the last day she calls this woman mommy

Buds and branches

Are opening to flowers.

Blossoms and baby fat

Are ripening to fruit.

Early Summer

Now the serpent was subtle

The woman was stupid

The man was absent

And that’s how the world went to hell

They told me.


In the sunlight

All the colors weave a mothering warmth

I believe I’m being born again

Don’t tell them.

Mid Summer



In the garden

She is not holy,

She is living.

Late Summer

Late summer is ragtime

The ragweed is a woody-stemmed shrub

The flowers sprawl in their raggedy gardens

The air is ragged with rasping cicadas

What was delight in spring

Sweet satisfaction at mid-summer

Now is overkill

A glaring beauty with too much makeup

Overpowering perfume

Gaudy clothes

And weary eyes.

If it didn’t all fall down

And sleep a while

Life would never last.

Early Autumn

Come in, come in.

Time to wash

And undress

Time to fire up the stove

Simmer down slow

Time for your bath.

All summer

You’ve been out in the sun

And the rain and the wind

Now it’s time to come in

Time to snuggle down

In your jar in the pantry.

Mid Autumn




Let fading leaves fade

Let dying light die

Embrace this moment

Though it chills and darkens everything.

If you hold the fire of summer’s sun

In the pit of your soul

You’ll survive

Till it warms your face again.

Late Autumn

This is where we have trouble with names.

Beyond the harvest holiday

We sing of jingle bells

Demand snowflakes.

Autumn shrugs, sighs

And leaves the room.

The Dark

Time for some poetry.

the dark
© 1/28/09 Julia Tindall Bloom

here comes the dark
warm and womblike
out pop the stars
above our heads
we sip our wine
sing a little more
kiss and settle in

here comes the dark
a blanket wrapped around us
we light candles
around the room
make hot cocoa
read stories with the children
drift drowsily to dreamy sleep

here comes the dark
a hungry wolf outside these walls
i plod to bed on heavy feet
weary of all these clothes
escaping to dreamless sleep
holding out

in my mind’s eye
sunlit green
in the earth’s heart
wrinkled seeds
kept for the moment

here comes the sun
a little earlier each day
lingering longer every night
i hear a low far-off train whistle
remember robins
and smile.

Fighting February

In the hot and busy hustle of growing, harvesting, and preserving summer’s bounty, winter sounds like a dreamy relaxing bubble bath. There I am in my mind’s eye, serenely lounging in a rocking chair, wrapped in a cozy blanket, backlit with candlelight. On the table next to me steams a mug of green tea, next to a small dish of dark chocolate and crystallized ginger from which I occasionally eat. I am reading Plato’s Republic. The children are in bed, my lover is softly strumming a guitar on the couch. The dishes are washed, the laundry is folded and put away, there is a pot of beans soaking for tomorrow’s dinner.

In February, the actual scene might look more like this: I am in a rocking chair, holding a book. It is not Plato’s Republic, but Thomas the Tank Engine’s Big Lift and Look Book. One child is on my lap because he was biting his sister at bedtime. The other is screaming that she is scared to be alone in her room. My drink of choice is Kahlua and cream, but I already drank it all. I didn’t bother putting the chocolate and ginger in a dish, but just ate them out of the bag while standing in front of the kitchen cupboard, keeping my back strategically turned towards the always-underfoot children. Dirty dishes are piled around the sink, and my husband is folding laundry on the couch. It’s looking like tomorrow’s dinner will once again be baked potatoes and carrot sticks. But at least I’ve got those jars of tasty ketchup that I canned in the summer.

For years now, I have regretted that Christmas is celebrated so early in the winter. Couldn’t people have waited until winter got good and nasty to have a big celebration? In December, even here in Minnesota, we can never be sure if we will even have snow for Christmas. In February, it’s a sure thing. In February, I am hungry for something to celebrate. I have become half-bear, convinced that hibernation would solve all my troubles. I, who love to get out of bed and go for a run at 5:00 on summer mornings, can hardly roll over by 8:00 on February mornings. I feel sleepy, swollen, and stupid; weary of the piles of clothes from which I must exhume myself every night for bed, weary of shoveling snow, weary of refereeing the ridiculous arguments and murderous brawls my small children have made their full-time occupation.

I know, the Christmas celebration lines up with the winter solstice, celebrating the return of the sun and longer days. And I do feel a glint of joy in February when I notice it is 5:00 and the sun is still shining. But, oh, how lovely it would be in February to saturate the house with the crooning of Nat King Cole, bake up a passel of Christmas cookies, fill up the calendar with parties and . . . the kids’ room with newly opened presents . . . and . . . hey, wait a minute, that sounds exhausting.

Skip it. The afternoon winter sun is radiating through the window, and I can just sit here and let it warm me, with no mental stress over cookies I’m not baking, parties I’m not planning, or even weeds I’m not pulling or gorgeous summer day I’m not taking full advantage of. I’ll bet there will be brilliant stars out tonight, with moonlight glowing over the snow. Alright, February, I surrender.