Perpetual Winter Never Known

by David Gascoyne

perpetual-winter-never-knownWhen the light falls on winter evenings

And the river makes no sound in its passing

Behind the house, is silent but for its cold

Flowing, its reeds frozen stiffer than glass

How can one anticipate the dawn, a sudden

Blazing of sunlight thawing the harshest sky?

How can one not remember summer evenings?

Must not the tired heart sink and must not fear

Bite, like an acid, wrinkles in its stone?

Behind drawn curtains, gazing at the fire,

Think how the earth spins dumb and bound

By iron chains of frost through death-still air;

And how in every street the sealed windows

And orange cubes of firelight, how in houses

Cuckoo-clocks imitate the spring, candles are

Suns. Perpetual winter never known,

Families warm their hands and wait, nor

Ever doubt the season’s transience.

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