A Midwinter Reminder
Rev. Peter T. Atkinson
As to the threshold question, I know no number,
But there is a point at which the cold,
Benign, clear, crisp, beautiful, turns violent,Besieging my extremities, ever encroaching, even invading,
Like a small needle, harmless at first, perhaps helpful,
Healthful, but then the grayness spreads, a bruise,
A blemish, drying, flaking, whitening, dulling,
From prick to ache, as the invasion stays, encamps,
Pillaging, robbing the vibrant flowing resources to leave
A dead wasteland behind, and no medicine ever flows,
The piercing is instead futile, absorbed, indulgent,
Mere make-up, eyeliner, fingerless gloves;
I think I can keep it out, that the surface is me,
And that I make me. Uncovered, though, my fingertips
Turn blue, the joints stiffen, rigor pre-mortis, a taste
Of death, cold, alone, final, clock forever frozen in time.
Can I learn from Napoleon’s mistake, or am I doomed,
As all life, hot-headed, warm-blooded, lust-filled, is
To go too far, to make our hay in these those warm days,
But never enough? We forget such pain in spring time,
And so forever make November’s mistake, thinking,
I have done enough! It won’t be so cold after all!
When winter comes, we find again it is; just ask my blue fingers.
My shivering lips may just shake out one last answer,
Stuttering out in my need, a faltering, Hallelujah!