From night’s horizon
sweep in yowls and howls
across the polar plain.
Glacial blue dims.
The sharpest window opens above:
stars minted by the chill.
Today’s prompt for A Poem A Day October was, “Write a poem incorporating the concept of being ‘frozen,’ whether literal or not.”
All day I have been mulling over the idea of ‘frozen’ as a transition state of water, rather than a state of matters set. In preparation for my idea doodling, I found a recording of Sinfonia Antarctica (Vaughan Williams) on Spotify. An image search online yielded this Guardian photo-essay about spending 9 winter months in Antarctica at the Concordia Station. In the article, the clear view of the stars above earth is mentioned.
Last year I wrote this diffuse poem. The setting is the large ice-mass that perhaps once bridged Siberia with North of America. A couple are migrating across this inhospitable realm. Imagine the pair dressed in furs, with all their worldly possessions in tow – tent, working dogs, blankets, food and household items tied to sleds. In the poem they are travelling towards the dragon’s gate. This endpoint motivates the woman with hope; it propels the man through sworn duty and allegiance. Both are so focussed on this outward destination – a gate in all its majestic and architectural wonder – that they are not aware of the small stirrings of life. The “soft pearl” is a growing child who embodies the para-reality of their journey and relationship. In contrast with the gate, a settled and solid structure, the child is something organic that will change and is less definable.
the sour faces coming out of front doors
of those who must go to work
the pinched looks of those shuffling
with shopping trolleys;
those who must buy groceries
Look at Grey Mullet
laid on ice at the fishmonger’s
Look at whole others who
smile weakly and wave
that magazine for the homeless/unemployed
outside where I buy stamps
Broadest of coffee smiles
a flaky-rimmed pasteis de nata
- time, thanks
he growls today and shakes his whole self on that concrete pavement
rousing the pigeons, in the rose bed, who then flap at the petals
and the thorns and leaves, but they are smaller and less interesting
like the work-faces folded away in drawers
or the pure bliss of 59p to buy soya milk
for seven days of breakfast joy
a coffee smile and through a window,
a fishmonger’s whole plaice on ice