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Ice Poems

Fire and Ice by Robert Frost (1920)

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Winter by William Shakespeare

When icicles hang by the wall 
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail 
And Tom bears logs into the hall, 
And milk comes frozen home in pail, 
When Blood is nipped and ways be foul, 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 
Tu-who; 
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note, 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 

When all aloud the wind doth blow, 
And coughing drowns the parson's saw, 
And birds sit brooding in the snow, 
And Marian's nose looks red and raw 
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 
Tu-who; 
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note, 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

To Winter by William Blake

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.'
He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheath?d
In ribb?d steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose 1000 skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs,--the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms!--till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.

Winter by Walter de la Mare

Clouded with snow 
The cold winds blow, 
And shrill on leafless bough 
The robin with its burning breast 
Alone sings now. 

The rayless sun, 
Day's journey done, 
Sheds its last ebbing light 
On fields in leagues of beauty spread 
Unearthly white. 

Thick draws the dark, 
And spark by spark, 
The frost-fires kindle, and soon 
Over that sea of frozen foam 
Floats the white moon.

Winter by Robert Southey

A wrinkled crabbed man they picture thee, 
Old Winter, with a rugged beard as grey 
As the long moss upon the apple-tree; 
Blue-lipt, an icedrop at thy sharp blue nose, 
Close muffled up, and on thy dreary way 
Plodding alone through sleet and drifting snows. 
They should have drawn thee by the high-heapt hearth, 
Old Winter! seated in thy great armed chair, 
Watching the children at their Christmas mirth; 
Or circled by them as thy lips declare 
Some merry jest, or tale of murder dire, 
Or troubled spirit that disturbs the night, 
Pausing at times to rouse the mouldering fire, 
Or taste the old October brown and bright.

The Winter's Spring by John Clare

The winter comes; I walk alone,
I want no bird to sing;
To those who keep their hearts their own
The winter is the spring.
No flowers to please — no bees to hum —
The coming spring's already come.

I never want the Christmas rose
To come before its time;
The seasons, each as God bestows,
Are simple and sublime.
I love to see the snowstorm hing;
'Tis but the winter garb of spring.

I never want the grass to bloom:
The snowstorm's best in white.
I love to see the tempest come
And love its piercing light.
The dazzled eyes that love to cling
O'er snow-white meadows sees the spring.

I love the snow, the crumpling snow
That hangs on everything,
It covers everything below
Like white dove's brooding wing,
A landscape to the aching sight,
A vast expanse of dazzling light.

It is the foliage of the woods
That winters bring—the dress,
White Easter of the year in bud,
That makes the winter Spring.
The frost and snow his posies bring,
Nature's white spurts of the spring.

Autumn And Winter by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Three months bade wane and wax the wintering moon
Between two dates of death, while men were fain
Yet of the living light that all too soon
Three months bade wane.

Cold autumn, wan with wrath of wind and rain,
Saw pass a soul sweet as the sovereign tune
That death smote silent when he smote again.

First went my friend, in life's mid light of noon,
Who loved the lord of music: then the strain
Whence earth was kindled like as heaven in June
Three months bade wane.


A herald soul before its master's flying
Touched by some few moons first the darkling goal
Where shades rose up to greet the shade, espying
A herald soul;

Shades of dead lords of music, who control
Men living by the might of men undying,
With strength of strains that make delight of dole.

The deep dense dust on death's dim threshold lying
Trembled with sense of kindling sound that stole
Through darkness, and the night gave ear, descrying
A herald soul.


One went before, one after, but so fast
They seem gone hence together, from the shore
Whence we now gaze: yet ere the mightier passed
One went before;

One whose whole heart of love, being set of yore
On that high joy which music lends us, cast
Light round him forth of music's radiant store.

Then went, while earth on winter glared aghast,
The mortal god he worshipped, through the door
Wherethrough so late, his lover to the last,
One went before.


A star had set an hour before the sun
Sank from the skies wherethrough his heart's pulse yet
Thrills audibly: but few took heed, or none,
A star had set.

All heaven rings back, sonorous with regret,
The deep dirge of the sunset: how should one
Soft star be missed in all the concourse met?

But, O sweet single heart whose work is done,
Whose songs are silent, how should I forget
That ere the sunset's fiery goal was won
A star had set?

Woods in Winter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.

O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.

Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!

But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.

 

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