January 3 William Blake

TO WINTER   William Blake (1757-1827)

Two hundred years later the poet and visionary, William Blake, included in his “Poetical Sketches” a more powerful personification of the season:

‘O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.’

He hears me not, but oe’r the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchained, sheathèd
In ribbèd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear’d his sceptre oe’r the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides oe’r the groaning rocks:
He Withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs, – the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal’ st
With storms! – till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driven yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.

winter ice photo

Previous Poem: January by Edmund Spenser
Next Poem: Snow by Louis MacNeice