When the river froze we would go skating until the thaws came and the river swelled up the banks towards our mother’s garden. You told me that the ice sang when it broke. You told me there was swan song in warmer weather because no matter the beauty of daffodils, of snow drops, of crocus, something was always lost in Winter’s melt. When you learnt how paint moves across canvas and how light falls though lenses I watched you chase though snow and mud to capture every note that crept from the country-side around our home. It was in your work I heard the music.
I was Ice Empress, a cold, stony heartless bitch. When did that all melt?
In the two years previous to this Christmas I found myself writing poetry for Newport Girls’ High School Christmas Carol Service. The reason was that my English teacher knew that I could write, and she wanted poems for the service. So I was cornered in the corridor and asked very nicely if I could write something. These are situations where I find my mouth saying the word yes before my brain can really think out the implications of taking on the task at hand. Anyhow. The second year I was asked again, and my last acceptance made sure that there was no way out. I had written the previous year, and written something rather good, so why not repeat the feat? I will tell you why not; Christmas poetry is a pain in the derriere. I have a personal phobia of be over clichéd, unless I’m being ironic, but that is something completely different. My original point is that Christmas poetry is difficult to write without being repetitive, or clichéd, or saying something that is …
Before the ice crept into your veins and settled, Before the cracks in your heart were petrified, Was there something other than ancient dust? Hiding in the hollow echo of disused synapses, Where nerves once sparked into singing chords Rattled down time taut strings of frozen organs, Buzzed through the vena cava and battered valves, To swell lungs full with gasping, desperate breaths While drum beats thundered, and the tempo jumped, Crescendos of flustered words and twisted tongue, Chasing the sun drenched notes from honeyed lips To pin them down, caught upon a pulsing manuscript. If there was once something more than what is now, Then how did the rhythm crumble from its arches? And why did the melody shatter sharps to flats Tumbling from the stave etched in your arteries, To clatter through the first of frozen teardrops, That came when the ice first crept and settled in.