Ice at the Window


Midwinter closes. This afternoon's snow,
that melted in droplets on this surface
of frail glass, transfigures into ice.

From where I stand, outside, the hall light's glow
paints a refracted portrait of your face,
a palette of sadness, pain, of sacrifice.

Each frozen prism, ice lens, a cameo
of suffering, a Murano glass trace
of time wearing down these, our fragile lies.

And will this be how I remember you?
Face fading in unconsummated grace,
light failing - and I cannot see your eyes.

Shorn of season, the wind begins to blow.
Midwinter closes, and you watch me go.


41 comments:

  1. 'Ice at the Window' is a variation on the sonnet form, and also a poem in response to the painting 'Refracted Portrait' by the well-respected Canadian magic realist Heather Horton.

    I've done ekphrastic poetry before - poetry in response to art - notably in my "Sonnets from the Labrador" series with the work of David Blackwood. I've also done this with individual works of art, both classical and contemporary.

    'Ice at the Window' is part of a collaborative series of visual and literary art pieces that I am doing with Heather.

    The series - with over-arching themes and metaphors of snow and ice - will be my first sustained collaborative art-and-poetry effort.

    I'm pleased to set out on this new journey, and excited to see how it evolves.

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  2. a cameo of suffering...what a turn of phrase man...and the wearing down of the lies...that you can not see the eyes is so evocative as well...what an emotional close...i am working on the form as well right now...will see...but you have set the bar...smiles.

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  3. There is ice and slush outside my window, so your words of midwinter, fading face and tears resonated with me.

    I particularly like this phrasing:

    paints a refracted portrait of your face,
    a palette of sadness, pain, of sacrifice.

    Are we doing sonnets for Thurs? Smiles ~

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  4. i love the active transfiguring of the glass into ice... there is, somehow, something magical about this.

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  5. wow...the winter images and the dying love work so well together...frozen prism.. ice lens... a cameo of suffering.... Murano glass trace...really a sensitively carved piece...great work with the form as well as it doesn't dominate the piece, just gives a frame in a good way...looking forward to FFA..

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  6. "Midwinter closes" like a door, like a frosted over opening--can't get in nor see in clearly. How sad the departure, seeming even more final when eyes too refuse to be seen into. I hear the mood of sad but also defeat as the narrator is given no choice but GO. I have never wanted melting so much in a sonnet!

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  7. Hello, I enjoy your work you have a way of weaving words together. I was able to feel heartbreak.

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  8. Speechless - utterly speechless!

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  9. You weave words beautifully. I especially like the way the 'frozen prism' transitioned to fragile lies. :-) It's almost magic, even if a sad one.

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  10. interesting sonnet variation, fascinating picture, and beautiful poem. I look forward to more in this series!

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  11. Tried commenting last night but no cigar...

    My comment: WOW!!!!!!

    :)

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  12. This makes me want to try the form more now; love the idea of collaborating with someone on a subject.. I am struck here by the glow of the refracted image and the fading..to me, it evokes most anyone I've ever known in my memory's eye who eventually are gone..but not forgotten..having to let go of lives so full of love and pain and humanity.

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  13. You make it seem so easy! I love your images throughout, especially in the 3rd stanza.

    Here's mine:
    http://lkkolp.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/the-storm/

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  14. Agree that your poem is not dominated by the Trireme form; nor does it scream "I am a sonnet." I tried for a similar result in my piece, though sadly, I used another tercet form & sonnet structure. But I love what you gave us as guideline.

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  15. Your prompt at dVerse today was informative and easy to understand. Thank you. There is palpable sense of multi-faceted transformation in this Midwinter close. A truly lovely piece.

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  16. I must say it is a beautiful and sad poem. The form is so challenging to write (now that I have tried) chapeau

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  17. meant to mention on the dVerse site - the phrase "midwinter closes" is brilliant ... so evocative - not true winter, not late winter, but midwinter ... it makes it all the more heart-breaking...

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  18. Really liked the snow transfiguring image. The sonnet variation works so well. And the ending is a perfect landing :-)

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  19. And I wish you luck in your poetry journey ~

    Thanks for the inputs and guidance ~

    Grace

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  20. Sam, this is painfully good - poignant - I, too, love especially "a palette of sadness, pain, of sacrifice". Wonderfully written!I saw those storm fronts heading your way on the news. Yoiks!

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  21. This is beautiful, Sam. I enjoyed so much learning about the form, and I wish you good luck on your new series!

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  22. Sam, a beautiful write...magical.

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  23. Beautiful, Samuel...really loved this...such deep feelings evoked. I wish you lots of fun and great success in your collaboration work.

    Gayle

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  24. Thanks for the prompt Samuel,
    Your poem sounds like two lovers that weren't meant to be. Leaving each other regrettably with a scattered image of each other. Separated by only a thin delicate glass that both respect when it could be so easily shattered.
    Not sure it was your intent - put that image worked well for me.

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  25. thank goodness for spring.

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  26. really like the imagery here, some tremendous word choices as well. Very cool formforall Sam. Thanks

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  27. Fab-u-lous. But I don't want you to go!
    Great sonnet. Isn't strange how mechanical tasks like ironing or shovelling snow get the mind working overtime.

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  28. Impressive. So moved by your cameo of suffering was I that I took the word "cameo" out of my offering. Superb.

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  29. A tragedy written from the heart. So beautiful.

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  30. Beautiful. Sensing the separation even before the leaving. Something that needs to be said goes unsaid - "...unconsumated grace." Thank you.

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  31. ...indeed true to accompany with Pablo Neruda's 'to is short (like the closing & opening of new season in your poem)... forgetting is so long...' the leaving resonated here so well & descriptions used were made more real & tangible for one not to be affected...adorable & i know i will come back to read it again and again and perhaps again...smiles...

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  32. This is a moving, emotional piece well connected to the theme of transfiguring ice. One does have to harden him/herself in order to leave.

    These sections work particularly well for me:

    "on this surface
    of frail glass, transfigures into ice"

    "a Murano glass trace
    of time wearing down these, our fragile lies"

    "And will this be how I remember you?
    Face fading in unconsummated grace,
    light failing - and I cannot see your eyes."

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:00:00 PM

      Oh, such a sad and beautiful poem crystallised in a jewel of a soft edged form.Too good!:)

      Rallentanda

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  33. Thanks for all the wonderful, kind words!

    For a further exposition of this poem, its inspiration, and the formal structure, see my article "On Midwinter, Magic Realism and a Trireme Sonnet".

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  34. Ah- sounds more to me like a parent looking out a door - the mixture of glass and ice and a kind of sad coldness works very effectively. Thanks so much for your prompt and great example - mine is a bit comical and horrific both. (Ha.) Yours beautifully elegant and poignant! k. http://manicddaily.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/passive-aggression-agatha-trireme-sonnet/

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  35. That closing couplet is just exquisite!

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  36. Simply perfect - glorious images and prosody

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  37. Taut and very resonant in it's form , Chris http://velvetmedia.wordpress.com/

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  38. you are brilliant with you pen ... such a touching poem ...

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