Note from the Editors

We sowed Winter, and we reaped it for a year.

We lay fallow. We withdrew. We shrank into the earth and tucked our roots about us. We shut our eyes, huddled into the brittle dark, and we sank.

While Winter rimed the waves, we sank. While Spring warmed the earth, we sank. While Summer ripened the grain, we sank. While Autumn fell about us in riotous colour, we sank, until the circle of our Winter closed, and we found ourselves in a Deep Place.

We are forbidden to speak of where we went. We are forbidden to speak of what was spoke. We are forbidden from sharing anything but our own words and the fruit of the labour we took with us, the triumph of our trade.

Bearing a year in our hands we approached – I cannot say who, I cannot say how – and asked for one of our number back. Bearing a year in our hands we approached, and did not say please, and did not give thanks. We stood as tall as we dared after our year of shrinking and we looked into what I cannot say were eyes and we said,

We worked hard for nine years. We are working towards a tenth. Seven is traditional for tithing, but ten is more accurate. Take our ninth year, take it in full from winter’s tail to its tip, but give us back our friend. Under her hands the fruit we bear you will bloom like never before, like a sunrise, like a bonfire, like stories in a snow-bound winter.

Take our poems, take our seasons, take our colours and our care – but give us back our friend.

We cannot say what was said – cannot say whether we walked without looking behind, cannot say whether we tossed a cloak over bare shoulders or climbed a glass hill.

But we have our friend.

We'll speak more of her in Spring.

Meantime we have this issue! Strike matches and find love or lose it; pour wine for a feast or refuse it; watch the snow fall pristine or go bruise it. But hold your loved ones tight and don’t let go until the chill is past, until the heat of your bodies outlasts the weather and you’re all the way out of the dark.

And all the thanks we dared not speak, all the thanks we clutched to our hearts in the Deep Place – those thanks are all for you, dear readers, poets, artists.

Thank you for waiting for us. Thank you for trusting in us. Thank you for guiding us home.