Midway through a too-mild February
(coaxed-up shoots of daffodil and snowdrop)
a pair of snowstorms and arctic blast return us brutally to winter:
16 below zero, then to 10 above in breezy daylight,
and back to 12 below.
Wind chills range the minus thirties.
I feed the birds when these blasts come
(juncos, cardinals, sparrows, titmice, chickadees, jays, doves, finches, and woodpeckers)
and regret the thick beard I shaved away.
The old beekeepers say the stronger colonies will survive 10 below.