Winter Withdrawal

Fingertips clawed raw,

I have buried myself

beneath layers of December,

tunnelling winter’s dark

earth like a mole, clothed

in tumulus. Strata

of shortened days stack

themselves above me.

The world seems not to turn

in the belowscape, where

there is no word for week.

We all have our reasons

for being here. I was mining

solitude, yet found comfort

in a cohort of other excavators:

slow-moving, soft-bodied.

We make a company of quiet.

Lately, I am doughy

in my burrow; but in this unlit

state where shy and hide

sound alike in the muddy

vernacular, I seek and find

seams of sanctuary: precious,

rare. Let January dawn,

February too. I have learnt

to live without light or air.




‘Winter Withdrawal’ is a poem for those long winter months, when it can almost feel like the lighter and longer days will never return. The poem was published in The Storms Journal in October 2023.


© Sarah Doyle