Geoffrey Hill

(18 June 1932 / Worcestershire)

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In Memory of Jane Fraser


When snow like sheep lay in the fold
And wind went begging at each door,
And the far hills were blue with cold,
And a cloud 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.

Submitted: Saturday, October 15, 2005

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  • Anthony Di''anno (8/25/2014 3:53:00 AM)

    I thoroughly enjoyed the pace and rhyme. In my mind here is a Hanna Hauxwell. A woman alone upon a moor, hardy and resiliant. Locked away from the fickle ways of man. An eremite of sorts. (Report) Reply

  • Clark Shattuck (5/4/2009 4:40:00 PM)

    I agree with Neil Young, brilliant. But I wish there was some expository preface re: Jane Fraser. I'm assuming she was, among other things, a victim of poverty, not able to pay her utility bill? (Report) Reply

  • Neil Young (11/28/2008 4:21:00 AM)

    This poem is perfect. The choice of words, imagery and measured pace exude brilliance. I have read several other poems of Geoffrey Hill featured in the British Poetry Since 1945 collection. I will be reading more... (Report) Reply

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