Evening Frost

I woke up at 6.30am this morning, a fact which any who knows me can testify is the first miracle of advent. As I sat with tea and some poems from an old poetry anthology, I came across a well know poem by Robert Frost, which reminded me of another poem (as all poems always do, I suppose, but in a more insistent way this time, as you’ll see); a poem I am even more familiar with, by Sinéad Morrissey.

Here’s Frost reading ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. frost.html

Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about myself and others who are feeling low at advent… a little overwhelmed, perhaps, with what life brings in this season… a little concerned, perhaps, at the sudden attention shone upon the intricate web of familial connections we hold, and the complexities, difficulties and differences within them… a little unsure, perhaps, about how to be present to this season of waiting and wondering…

Here’s Morrissey’s poem. I love it for its courage in plummeting so immediately into despair, and I love it for the insistent life pulsing through its final rhythms.

Driving Alone on a Snowy Evening
After Frost

There is no reason that I know
To go on waking, eating, so
I turn the urgent wipers off
And watch the screen sift up with snow.

They’ll conjure emptiness, despair,
Disease in the wings, a failed career.
Those inward, ticking moments when
The seduction of stopping obliterates fear.

The car purrs on. I do not brake.
The choice of crash I leave to fate.
A tree, a bridge, a railway line.
Behind the brightness dark shapes wait.

The snow and ceiling kiss, then meet.
The view’s as white as a winding sheet.
The heart still beats repeat repeat.
The heart still beats repeat repeat.

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