Feel the Chill but Savor the Season with a January Sonnet

a scene of Russian hero Ivan Susanin in a snowy forest with spruce trees
Ivan Susanin receives a vision of Mikhail Fyodorovich
Mikhail Nesterov (1906)

[I was surprised to find many references to Hindu culture in this poem along with many from the holy book that is the foundation of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths. Feel free to discover those connections through the links and make what you will of them.]

O winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire
The streams than under ice. June could not hire
Her roses to forego the strength they learn
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire
In vain to build. O Heart, when Love’s sun goes
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease,
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,
The winter is the winter’s own release.

Helen Hunt Jackson

a snowy scene of a cottage, a wagon pulled by oxen, and a frozen creek
Little Russian Ox Cart in Winter
Ivan Aivazovsky (1866)


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