Here’s a poem that really gets my hackles up.

Emily Dickinson’s “The Frost of Death was on the Pane” focuses on our ability to perceive just enough power over inevitabilities to expose how “regressive and futile,” our actions are. Still, we persist “before each valuable moment slips away in the pursuit of others and they are all swallowed up by death.” more»

As helpless as those trapped in steerage on the Titanic, with defenses as thin as a window pane between ice and the warmth within, we have only the reassurance of equality of participation as wedges between death and its opposite.

The Frost of Death was on the Pane –
“Secure your Flower” said he.
Like Sailors fighting with a Leak
We fought Mortality –

Our passive Flower we held to Sea –
To Mountain – to the Sun –
Yet even on his Scarlet shelf
To crawl the Frost begun –

We pried him back
Ourselves we wedged
Himself and her between –
Yet easy as the narrow Snake
He forked his way along

Till all her helpless beauty bent
And then our wrath begun –
We hunted him to his Ravine
We chased him to his Den –

We hated Death and hated Life
And nowhere was to go –
Than Sea and continent there is
A larger – it is Woe –

The new year always feels like a reprieve for a while, giving me an illusion of respite from intense feelings of November and December. This imaginary beginning ratchets up my sense of time as the “big between” when I imagine life happens. But, I am mocked by “The Frost of Death” who says “Go ahead, ‘Secure your Flower’, what else can you do?”

I am as a sailor committed to keeping my ship, my life, afloat. “A Leak” may be a psychic wound or blocked communication that I have failed in my best efforts to overcome. Tick-Tock… Tick-Tock…

There is so much more of life and love I must have with one whose death “Yet easy as a narrow Snake / He forked his way along”.

The amazing life force of this one I love becomes “Our passive Flower…/…Till all her helpless beauty bent” in futile resistance to inescapable forces.

“And then our wrath begun —”. The controlled understatement clogs my throat.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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