Frozen Hope



“Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for the better. And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.’ Yes, evil often seems to surpass good. But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts. One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw. And so I must still have hope.”
― Vincent Van Gogh


Several Winters ago

the snow was heavy

the chill was intense

the cold penetrated the ground so deeply

that our water pipes froze

there was nothing

to be done about it

the water works

did not work

and would not work

until nature allowed them to

by warming up

and for that

we had to wait

days turning into weeks

the only running water

came from tears

of grief


and humiliation

(flushing a toilet became a luxury)

which was plenty to make coffee, tea or cook soup

that’s an artistic flourish

in truth the water company

supplied us with plenty of bottled water

more than that

they could not do

as much as they tried

but that was more than enough

for their behaviour renewed hope in humanity

you know

in those ways which warm the heart

penetrating deep into the soul

when those who do not need to care about you


they seemed more alarmed than we were about not having running water

especially when I told them I was using snow melted in a large pot

as our ancestors might have done

before we lived as we do now

the image above captures the moment when

the thaw began

a tiny hole in a mountain of iced snow appeared

catching the sun’s rays

glinting sparkling shining

with hope

it was a small hole at first

the size of a mouth

and the icicle within it

looked like an uvula to me




warmth into a throat once frozen quiet.

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