Friday, 28 December 2012

Day 189: Grace

'But also for the good, true cold,
shocking us back to all our senses:'

Can grace be a 'broken-off star of ice in the hand' - beautiful, but freezing? And can grace come out of cold? Can December cold, the coldest of all, be a wild gift?

I hope so. 

Grace at Christmas - Jean Sprackland

Not only for the way the whisky
flames in the glass and thaws the blood;
not only for the rattle of hailstones
down the chimney and doused by fire;
not just for the way the brand-new ring,
slipped cool on a finger, flushes with life;
or the warmth of the bed, and the warmth of another,
when streetlamps are spinning snow outside.

But also for the good, true cold,
shocking us back to all our senses:
the broken-off star of ice in the hand,
the sting of the wind and the quickening heart.
For the splintering light, and the frost in our voices,
striking, and making the strung air ring;
December cold with its wilder gifts –
for when are we more alive than now?


  1. This is so beautiful...I love Jean Sprackland but have never come across this poem before.

    Love the way she is so economical with words in this, but how they seem to sing, the way ice does, sometimes, hanging from a gutter with the wind blowing thinly through it. 'Broken-off star of ice' is just wonderful, as is 'splintering light', and the line about making the 'strung air ring' is so so perfect and musical I could cry.

    I have been lax about commenting recently but your blog has been a gift this last year. I hope it wasn't just a one-year project and that you continue with it in 2013.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Siobhan, and a happy New Year to you xxx

  2. Hi Cheryl, I know isn't it just! Just like ice crystals I think, beautiful and intricate and sublime.

    I haven't really heard of her before, just came across this poem in a newspaper article... but will have to look her up! I love 'broken-off star of ice' too, such a gorgeous phrase. You're right - it is so musical too! The words do sing, a lovely melancholy melody.

    Thank you very much Cheryl! Glad you are enjoying it - and yes I hope to keep it up as long as I can! It reminds me to go to poetry every day, which is nothing if not a good thing, even on those days when I don't feel like it.

    A VERY Happy New Year to you too Cheryl! And may you continue your beautifully-written blogs in the year to come! Best wishes x :)


I'd love to hear what you think! To leave a comment - comment as/sign in with your Google ID if you have one, or website or blog address, or if these don't apply, sign in as Anonymous, and leave your name if you like!