In Memory of Jane Fraser

By Geoffrey Hill b. 1932 Geoffrey Hill
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)

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Poet Geoffrey Hill b. 1932


Subjects Nature, Winter, Living, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy

 Geoffrey  Hill


Geoffrey Hill was born in Worcestershire, England in 1932. From a working-class family, Hill attended Oxford where his work was first published by the poet Donald Hall. These poems later collected in For the Unfallen: Poems 1952-1958 (1959) marked an astonishing debut. In dense poems of gnarled syntax and astonishing rhetorical power, Hill planted the seeds of style and concern that he has continued to cultivate over his long . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Winter, Living, Death


Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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