This Winter Night

         I have been intending to write for some months, but they slipped by along with plans for this year. In these last hours of 2020, I am reaching out to check on you. How are you, Dear Reader? Are you alright? For the many losses of the year, I am sorry. For the moments we missed with each other face-to-face, I am sorry. For the pandemic, the economic devastation to sectors of our economy, for our children’s losses of routine and friends, I am sorry.

         The road curves before us. What lies ahead, I do not know, but I will walk with intention, and prayer and keep you with me. Please know that I send love and boundless intentions for healing and hope this winter night.

         I read two beautiful books that I wanted to write about in separate posts. Instead I mention them here. A Country Between: Making a Home Where Both Sides of Jerusalem Collide by Stephanie Saldana written as a letter to her son addressing the many injustices of this planet is profound and beautiful. It is a book of beauty and community and conflict. The second book is Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah C. Williams. Her pregnancy with a child with a life-limiting diagnosis addresses the ethics of being pro-choice and the assumptions of this political position. The book is intelligent and allows us to look at the choice of carrying to term with its complexities. This is not an either/or discussion, but an and/and for us to ponder.

         Two of my poems were published in November. “Blue Jay” is in Into the Void and “Artemis Bruises My Belly with her Acupuncture Needle” in Rogue Agent. Three poems and one work of creative nonfiction are forthcoming in 2021.

         All of my classes have been pushed out to 2021.

         I did not finish my novel this year, though I really tried. Thanks to the kindness of my friend Shereen, two days at her cabin in Nebraska were enough to finalize a poetry manuscript on my first marriage. It is under consideration in a few contests. I want to start a new book about my late aunt and her illness. Soon… My boy has been in school remotely since March, and he is more important than the deadlines I set for myself. 

         The poet Jean Valentine passed away this week. I leave you with her words, and wishes for a light-filled 2021.

            The River at Wolf


Coming east we left the animals
pelican beaver osprey muskrat and snake
their hair and skin and feathers
their eyes in the dark: red and green.
Your finger drawing my mouth.

Blessed are they who remember
that what they now have they once longed for.

A day a year ago last summer
God filled me with himself, like gold, inside,
deeper inside than marrow.

This close to God this close to you:
walking into the river at Wolf with
the animals. The snake’s
green skin, lit from inside. Our second life.

Jean Valentine



Author: Dianna

DIANNA VAGIANOS ARMENTROUT is a published writer, teacher, workshop facilitator and poetry therapist. She graduated from Adelphi University’s Honors Program and earned her MAW from Manhattanville College. Dianna’s pregnancy with her daughter, Mary Rose, who died an hour after birth of trisomy 18, changed her life completely. Her blog, Walking the Labyrinth of My Heart, was launched in April 2015 as a way of offering support to others going through pregnancies with life-limiting and fatal diagnoses.

4 thoughts on “This Winter Night”

  1. Your intense presence in the “moments” that make up our lives, few details missed, then- your remembrance of our hearts, reminds us of the cloak of dignity each of us wears. You remind us, to pull it closer, wrap ourselves deeply in that dignity… you – the chronicler of the labyrinth of our hearts. I don’t know another like you… head bowed… head bowed deeply.

    1. Head bowed. We must walk together in unity, Dear Aniela… I love the cloak image as I often imagine Mary’s cloak sheltering us from storms. So glad your heart is a labyrinth too…

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