Austin Liou

A January Night


The frigid January air

Carries the red streaked clouds

To the setting sun.

The dwindling light

Signals the beginning of the night,

And the evening nocturne begins.


The clouds rest on the tree tops,

Stars twinkle behind the haze.

Echoing calls of the nighttime birds

Ring in the air as the hunt begins.

The chilling frost rolls across the snow

In rippling waves like an ocean.


The great horned owl

Swoops from a lofty branch.

Twisting its head

To triangulate the prey.

Impossible for the human ear to hear,

A rustle there or here.


Moonlight rays cast gliding shadows

Over the snow and rocks.

Iron talons spread as it prepares for the attack.

Silver streaks explode in a silent scuffle,

And the hunter flies into the sky.

Wind rushes up in a snowy bloom.


Silhouetted against a crescent moon

The owl flaps silently to the vantage point,

Ready to launch into the hours of darkness.

Yellow orbs gleam and blink,

Among the lattice work

Of crystallized branches.


Icicles tinkle and glisten

As the melting

Slows to a flash freeze.

Hanging off the old willow,

They whisper quietly

Like the jaws of darkness.


Jaws from a beast in the sea.

The frozen sea of ice and snow.

The waves of frost,

Chime and chink

As they tumble

Against the icy ground.


The shards of ice lift off into the sky,

Drifting into the black of night.

White against black,

A tint and a shade,

Like the keys on a piano.

Echoes like a painting in a memory.


The sky is so dark,

Almost violet, twinkling with stars

Like an amethyst cave among obsidian.

This is a January night,

When the air is frigid

And moonlight glitters among the snow.


Copyright © 2002-2011 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose © 2002-2011 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission.