The silent cold seeps through the seams
Of my taught, pale jacket,
The covering which holds my flame;
Yet the chill refuses to absolve its hold.
Its life-drinking kiss steals the breath;
Its wretched tendrils embrace the beating heart:
It draws us toward anger, hate, death, dying.
It tells us to cry, curse, rage, fear, cower, cringe.
And nothing can be done.
Who would stand against this cold? This chill?
This cold seeps through the senses.
It is black, unseen, yet all pervading.
Who could stand against this absolute?
This vast, vacant emptiness where nothing lives?
Can any fight it? Can any know when it strikes?
It tells us to shriek, to shirk, to sink, to sleep;
It wants us to shiver, to chatter, to huddle, to scream,
To sleep. To sleep. To sleep.
But we dare not dream.
Should we flee? Could we flee? Would we flee?
Will we consummate this unholy matrimony?
Will we consent to slip away into dreamless unrest
And submit to the frigid, killing bite of renunciation?
The hoarfrost wraps its withered hands about the heart,
Stifles its thumping rush, its vibrant vitality,
Slowly kills it, sucking, draining, choking, drowning,
Until a shriveled, barren husk hangs silent.
Not I, but we. Never I only we.
My shivering heart, now wrinkled, yet pale,
Is bruised, yet not broken, but lifeless.
The pallor of sable death has infected my
Jacket, my worn, warm covering. That chill
Has seeped into its fibers, diluting the warmth,
The heat, the fire, the life, the burning passion,
The all-consuming wrath, the rage, the revolution.
My insides rot and burn away, stirring new life
Within, yet without, the same.
But I am, at least, free.
Black, sable cold seeps through my jacket seams,
Burns away its passion, leaving it numb, senseless.
It calls us to cry, scream, despair, fragment.
It drives us to oneness, to tolerance, to crusade
Lady Hoarfrost bares her teeth in wanton pleasure,
Her wolf’s snarl malicious, seductive, chilling.
She beckons us to love, to fear, to protect, to kill,
To embrace the withered fingers of the cold,
To sleep. To sleep. TO SLEEP.
O, the horror of dreamless sleep!
-- John Nichols
2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 17 - I know for poets in the States that we’re getting super close to turkey time; I hope everyone is able to keep poeming through the crazy holiday week. If ...