When snow like sheep lay in the fold
And winds went begging at each door,
And the far hills were blue with cold,
And a cold shroud lay on the moor,
She kept the siege. And every day
We watched her brooding over death
Like a strong bird above its prey.
The room filled with the kettle’s breath.
Damp curtains glued against the pane
Sealed time away. Her body froze
As if to freeze us all, and chain
Creation to a stunned repose.
She died before the world could stir.
In March the ice unloosed the brook
And water ruffled the sun’s hair.
Dead cones upon the alder shook.
Geoffrey Hill, “In Memory of Jane Fraser” from New and Collected Poems, 1952-1992. Copyright © 1994 by Geoffrey Hill. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: New and Collected Poems 1952-1992
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)