Perpetual Winter Never Known

When the light falls on winter evenings
And the river makes no sound in its passing
Behind the house, is silent but for its cold
Flowing, its reeds frozen stiffer than glass
How can one anticipate the dawn, a sudden
Blazing of sunlight thawing the harshest sky?
How can one not remember summer evenings?
Must not the tired heart sink and must not fear
Bite, like an acid, wrinkles in its stone?

Behind drawn curtains, gazing at the fire,
Think how the earth spins dumb and bound
By iron chains of frost through death-still air;
And how in every street the sealed windows
And orange cubes of firelight, how in houses
Cuckoo-clocks imitate the spring, candles are
Suns. Perpetual winter never known,
Families warm their hands and wait, nor
Ever doubt the season's transience

by David Gascoyne


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