A Winter Pond

Sting-chill of winter matt –
Her frozen hand caressed us all;

And calming bleach of silence
Pressed upon the rustic scape
To leave an ashen underbelly –
Once raging summer chroma.

Even Winter’s gelid lungs laboured
Under heavy drag of flakes –
Their pilgrimage: to stay a deadened floor
In crunch-white peace.

And round about, the weight of time
– Collapsing under Winter’s drag –
Transmutes to grey: it’s three o’clock –
No lights pricking black out here! –
Even the night globe,
The Great Reflector – stonewalled;
Camouflaged by lead-laden cloud
Lolling in the claustrophobic noon.

At ground, a farm pond –
Seized in a dark hiatus –
Offered up repentance –
Why, it dared to harbour life!

I forgave it in my desperate gaze
Upon the crazy-paving surface,
That sealed in the black-chill temperature,
Where at bottom, something nithered
Still survived.

Mark R Slaughter

I found this poem whilst wandering around t'internet thinking about the cold and the impending snow.  I really like it in general as I spend a lot of time staring at my pond in all seasons.  It is as fascinating in Winter as it is in the Summer.  I try and peer through the frozen surface to see if anything is moving below.  I have, in years past, seen frogs frozen under its waters.  That was horrible, I assume they were dead.  I did fish one body out but never found any more, I shudder to think of it even now.

I love the language of this poem;  I fully admit I had never heard of the word 'gelid', to me it sounds like it has escaped from the poem Jabberwocky.  It means 'very cold, icy or frosty'; I know you all know that, I just explained it to remind myself really.  It is my new favourite word.  I shall go into work and say 'ooh its a bit gelid out there today' and they shall all nod in agreement.

I do love words that are new to me.


  1. You learn something new everyday. Gelid - another one to add to our vocabulary :)

  2. Love this poem it's new to me but conjures up a freezing day in the countryside perfectly. I too have a pond and after the big freeze of Jan 2012 in France we were surprised to find it had about 30 goldfish in it who had survived. As for a frozen frogs unfortunately a handful of very dead and smelly frogs that floated to the surface of another thawing pond in a tiny town garden gave our daughter then around two a phobia of frogs.

    1. My pond is quite deep, but there are no fish in it, I just hope there are no frogs this year trapped in it, I can understand why it upset your daughter.

  3. Gelid, what a splendid word. Much better than the thought of frozen frogs.


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