I don’t know why it made me happy
to see the pond ice over in a day,
turning first hazy, then white.
Or why I was glad when the thermometre
read twenty-four below, and I came back to bed – the pillows cold,
as if I had not been there two minutes before.
~Jane Kenyon “The Cold”
Then they also will answer, saying,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?
A jay settled on a branch, making it sway.
The one shriveled fruit that remained
gave way to the deepening drift below.
I happened to see it the moment it fell.
Dusk is eager and comes early. A car
creeps over the hill. Still in the dark I try
to tell if I am numbered with the damned,
who cry, outraged, Lord, when did we see You?
~Jane Kenyon “Apple Dropping Into Deep Early Snow”
I have reservoirs of want enough
to freeze many nights over.
~Conor O’Callaghan from “January Drought”
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.
~Robert Frost “Fire and Ice”
How sad to think we have a choice of destruction –
between the ashes of a cataclysmic fire
or the frozen immobility of a block of ice
with breath trapped in bubbles
rather than lungs.
There is nothing left from charred remains
nor can life exist in a safe suspension awaiting melt.
How outrageous we forget –
others matter to God,
He who embodies the least of these:
the hungry, the thirsty,
the ill, the poor,
the oppressed, the imprisoned.
We’re called to thaw without scorching,
give ourselves without resentment,
find God present even when we wish to hide from him.
May it be
we breathe deeply when the ice around us melts.
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