Awakened by the Thaw

‘To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night’ (Gilbran)

A heart stony with winter’s chill,
and starved from arteries frozen still,
needs gradual and gentle thaw
that penetrates the very core.
When temperatures start to climb
after months of deepest wintertime,
shaking itself with a timid shiver,
the heart becomes a singing river.

Kim M. Russell, 8th December 2020

Image found on

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Poetics: Stepping off the sidewalk

This Tuesday, Laura is back to challenge us with a mystical poetics prompt. She says that “a major distractor these days is politics which, with Covid-19, has become increasingly personal and intrusive in our day to day lives.  Moreover, the enlightened notion of ‘awakening’ has been bastardised within the current ideology of ‘wokeness’ and with it we are more divisive, more intolerant, more consumed by worldly things.” Which is why she asks us to step off the sidewalk for a while and take our inspiration from poets who explore the mystical and spiritual.

She gives us the example of C.S. Lewis answering the question he poses in ‘An Expostulation’, which she says seems to be answered in the poetry of Han Shan. Other examples she gives us are R.S. Thomas’s ‘The Bright Field’, which embodies glimpsing and forgetting, Din-Attars poem about being lost in a daydream, and Mary Oliver’s ‘Praying’.

For this Poetics challenge, she asks us to let our imaginations become springboards to the mystical or sacred by choosing ONE of eight fragments from the mystic poets, and including the words in our poems or titles, or writing them as Epigraphs at the start of our poems.

I chose ‘To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night’ (Gilbran).

59 thoughts on “Awakened by the Thaw

  1. You have my heart with this one, Kim! I love the image “shaking itself with a timid shiver, the heart becomes a singing river.” A most beautiful, stirring, and unforgettable poem 💝💝

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the idea of the heart becoming ‘a singing river’ after the winter thaw. I always feel more positive by this time of year as although we’re in the depths of winter, the thaw is less far off.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As everyone has noted, that heart and a singing river are inspired. I found it interesting that most readers thought this poem was gentle. To me, it feels sharp as cracking ice. Perhaps our weather today is colouring my enthusiasm for winter because my long-johns are building up shocking amounts of static electricity. ZAP!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Marilyn, you are right. I’m back to freezing again. An electrician came to mend the storage heater in my study, which worked the next morning, but by Sunday it had broken down again. Thank goodness for hot water bottles!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. So clever this. The rhyme (which I barely noticed first time round) is stilted and stopped in the first lines – ‘frozen still’ / – but by the time the thaw starts it loosens – ‘timid shiver’ and then in the last line with that longer ‘singing river’ – it hurries along – form and meaning working so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ron! We have rain this morning, so my husband was spared windscreen scraping. Instead of sparkling frost and romantic mist, we have grey clouds and soggy soil. I have to go out in that today, and queue outside at the surgery pharmacy, so will be wearing my fashionable rain hat – Glenn says it makes me look like Diane Keaton!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I always admire your rhyming couplets, and kudos for using neo/ersatz rhymes, that break up the sing-song without violating the form. I could hear the glacier ice crackling and calving while reading this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Glenn. I am a rhyming couplet kind of girl (can I call myself that at my age?)! I also love to indulge in slant rhyme. Let’s hope it’s only metaphorical ice cracking.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Awakened by the Thaw….a beautiful title followed by beautiful words and imagery, Kim. For me, I turned this into a metaphor…..the individual hurt once whose experience chilled her heart….then slowly, new love is born and her heart thaws. Or….one can simply take it at word level and it’s a beautiful explanation and juxtaposition of Wnter and Spring – two distinct sides of nature.
    I really enjoyed this one!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This has a lovely jaunty flow and the rhymes give it a light-hearted touch. I especially like the way you change tempo in the last couplet, switching from tetrameter to pentameter. It made me think of the way trains used to change speed when they went over the points 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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