A leaf of brown comes tumbling down,
gyratory in the grey January air.
Trees lift their cold hard shoulders up
against the white congested sky.
Berries gleam red and amber
among dull evergreen leaves.
Dog-walkers plod determinedly
the single lane to the park,
then filter out across the open space
avoiding heavy fast-moving Rottweilers,
staying stony-faced but once in a while
reducing speed to exchange quick greetings.
One coughs to a standstill, then
steers himself a bench to find his menthol sweets,
his dog obliviously accelerating away.
Small birds pass and re-pass
back and forth to fetch food,
signalling to each other with swift chirps,
but people, dogs, birds are running on empty:
a long hard road till spring.