The river Wye frozen over below St. Mary's Church, Hay-on-Wye 2011

The river Wye frozen over below St. Mary’s Church, Hay-on-Wye 2011


Savagely, in the Hour of Frost,
Under a wintering Moon’s bite.
The Night fissured, cracked clean across,
Tearing Stars from their jagged flight
And sealed them in the River’s skin
All glist’ning-white and frozen in.

The Frost then cleaved apart the Land
And ploughed the Fells with silver share.
Each furrow split by frigid hand
Invisible in the numbing air.
Frail nestling’s shivered at a touch
Held breathless in that icy clutch.

With rigid hope the thronging grass
Stood steely in that bitter time.
Frost barbed each blade in broken glass,
Encasing every sword in rime.
On armoured acres facets gleam
Alike the stars trapped in the stream.

The naked boughs, the withered leaves,
Stark victims of Frost’s fearful tide.
Those gagged bare branches of the trees,
Where suffocated berries hide.
Gathering, the Frost drew power,
As every second surged that Hour.

Relentless now, shrouding the Hall
And draining life from all who’d stare.
Hoaring hearts as if enthralled
By any who would match its glare!
So hard we fought with choking coke,
That spectral chill within the smoke.

Then Water woke, realseasing Stars –
A melt ascending, warmth returning.
Frost ran thawing with glistening scars
And in Dawn’s light, ice was burning!
In steaming vapours of that day,
The Hour of Frost melted away.

By Emma van Woerkom ©2014



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