This is not the terrifying 'Game of Thrones' winter, which many of us now think of when we encounter those words, 'winter is coming'. This winter is inevitable too, but natural, and has not yet arrived although it's on the way. The double meaning doesn't hammer you over the head, but it's clear enough. Yet this is predominantly a poem about love. I've lived the love of the aged, still taking care of each other as best they can, still expressing love in romantic ways — such as dancing in the kitchen. I love the tenderness portrayed here.
And I love the poet's affection for both parents, in particular the portrait of the father 'at peace with the silence' of his beloved woods, or surrendering to the earth for a moment after his fall before pushing against it.
There's a quiet music in this poem, and a sureness of tone. As a work of art, I think it's beautifully realised.Winter is Coming was written for Mark's parents while they were still alive, and he later read it as part of the eulogy for his mother.
Knowing that I'm a poet, friends and acquaintances sometimes like to show me other people's poems, either to share their own pleasure in a find, or to see what I think of them. That's how I came to know of Mark Salo's poetry, when a neighbour said, 'Don't you think this is good?'Yes, I certainly did! And I immediately wanted to feature him here.
'In 2005, Salo retired to Queensland with his wife Dixie where they live with their daughter, her husband and two young granddaughters.
'Salo comes from a family of writers where poetry, letter writing and family essays are a way of communicating love, history and personal regard. His maternal grandmother started it all. She was a feminist, a teacher and a poet who once said that she would rather be caught stealing a pig than mispronouncing a word.
'Before settling down professionally, Salo worked as tradesman, airplane builder, tile setter and woodsman. Before retiring he taught a course for several years at the University of California Extension on Roles, Responsibilities and Relationship in not-for-profit organizations.
'In his private capacity, Mark is a poet, essayist, luthier (guitar maker), American Civil War student, family genealogist/historian and a lover of old cars. Most recently, Mark has settled into working with wood as an art form.'