The Circle of Affection and Other Pieces in Prose and Verse

by Duncan Campbell Scott


 

FROST


 

THE FROST has gripped the world,
        He holds it with power and might;
On the rich man’s flue a flower unfurled
        Blooms in the moonlit night,

With its root safe hidden, deep,

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        In fire at the red hearth’s heart;
But the poor man fights and conquers sleep,
        Hearing his roof-tree start.

The wild grey wolf of cold,
        Sniffs at his narrow door,

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While Frost strikes down in the chimney old
        And whitens the nails in the floor.

He is freezing the children’s hands,
        As he takes their little breath
That wanders and blows in the eerie lands

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        That border the province of death,

To the window where it clings.
        He is etching as if in play
His dreams of strange and beautiful things,
        In forms that will pass away,

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That will leave in the early suns
        Only a trace of tears;
But the hands of the fragile little ones
        Will last for years and for years.

And whenever they near the fire,

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        Their fingers will ache and burn,
They will cry out for the desperate days,
        For the nights that may never return.

When the Frost crept into the blood,
        That halted numb and frore,

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And they heard the wolfish solitude,
        Creep up to the narrow door;

And saw the careless sprite,
        Taking their little breath,
To lay on the sparkling window white,

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        His thought about life and death.