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Grey grasses drown
In thin brown water
Wound like a chain on the valley's
Sunken breast.


Fallen leaves on the stream
Float motionless--rest--
So secretly the pale
Water winds around
Toward hidden pools,


Or sinking in the earth
Is drowned.


Curved crimson stems,
Thorny fingers of vine,
Reach toward the wind.


Sunlight, thin and cold,
Touches them--they shine.


Nothing passes for thorns to hold--
Red thorns,
Catching at shadows of the wind.


Silence in the valley,
Silence without wings--


Like the caught breath
Of an unspoken word
When no words come.


Withered reeds, and thin brown water
Above the reeds
Are dumb.


For what are you waiting, winter valley,
Withered valley, brown with reeds?
You are hushed with waiting.


You are old with secrets,
You are tranquil with forgetting.


You are harsh with thorns
Of fruits long vanished.