This is a wonderful collection of two poems and a short essay whose title provides the title for the collection..When I first read the essay by John Lewis-Stempel (JLS), I realised that it not just about winter, it is also about Christmas. JLS is visiting the woods late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve.. He captures something emblematic of Christmas. JLS paints a series of vivid pictures and sounds. He writes about reaching the centre of the wood and finding holly,"queen of the woods" still there, some twenty years after he had last seen it. He talks about how holly's religious significance. He describes the depths of winter, the biting cold, the gloom of late afternoon and how ""At the fork in the path by beech stand, I did not haver ...". He describes animals trying to survive in the hard winter and how he becomes part of the wood as a "human tree trunk", how solitary it is. Just as JLS has created a picture of biting cold, snow starting to fall and darkness starting to fall and the reader is left feelinge effects of the cold winter weather, JLS suddenly offers a ray of hope in the very last line: "And I saw that the velvet buds on the ash were fully formed, and full of promise".JLS's essay is preceded by a short poem called "Seven Words for Winter" by Nancy Campbell, using Greenlandic words to describe "winter" in the past and present (http://arcticjournal.com/
culture/2157/hymns-language ). The last item in the collection is a poem called "Winter Heart" by Jackie Kay which reads a like a big warm hug.I love this collection and I keep going back to read "The Wood in Winter" as it so resonates with me at this time of year when Spring seems far off.