Friday, November 30, 2018

"In Memory of Jane Fraser" by Geoffrey Hill


When snow like sheep lay in the fold
And winds went begging at each door,
And the far hills were blue with cold,
And a cold shroud lay on the moor,

She kept the siege. And every day
We watched her brooding over death
Like a strong bird above its prey.
The room filled with the kettle’s breath.

Damp curtains glued against the pane
Sealed time away. Her body froze
As if to freeze us all, and chain
Creation to a stunned repose.

She died before the world could stir.
In March the ice unloosed the brook
And water ruffled the sun’s hair,
And a few sprinkled leaves unshook.

Source of the text - Geoffrey Hill, For the Unfallen: Poems 1952-1958.  Dufour Editions, 1960, p. 23.

TJB: Several elegant, interlaced metaphors, spondaic & end-rhymed, run through Jane’s furious siege against death in a house surrounded by winter.

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