How high you rise, in white towers.
An intricate city of ice.
Above you, sea gulls carry battered melodies and charred tattered flowers.
Around you, there are no slow summery sproutings of leaves on fragrant trees.
Near you, there are no young cubs that, with time’s magic, will become tigers with solid weight in their sagging gorgeous fur.
No, everywhere in sight, there is only cold white that spreads through the snowy blur of the surrounding terrain.
Nowhere near are there railroad tracks that curve with grace through sweet aching forests.
No women brushing their hair at 3:00 pm on sidewalks too hot to be trodden without shoes.
No packages wrapped in expensive paper with ribbon.
Many have tried to decipher the terrible chill of your mystery.
But none have the piercing wisdom to unlock the crushing frost of your white secrets.
Even after half a cold unbearable minute, we must turn our stares away from you, or our hearts will lose heat and we’ll tremble like collapsed tents to the ground’s puddles that reflect the silent stare of your glacier-like spires which stretch up skyward like motionless, soundless, ivory choirs into the air.
We approach you, giant castle --
And, our eyes might be shaped like eyes, but they see as clearly as pearls or marbles.
Our ears might be shaped like ears, but they hear as clearly as artichoke hearts or the cold swirled sugary cream on sundaes.
Above you, swelling musically-trained clouds endlessly sing with their sub-zero rain.
At least, we have a song.
For no one can look into the fierce winter of your heart with understanding except God.
No, every woman and man who approaches your cold enormity can only gaze in shivering prayer at the ineffable freeze of your vast white architecture, at the hardened ice from which you are made.
In heaven’s red flames, Christ’s return will someday melt you.
Humanity’s warm tears will finally flow over the icy swamps of your white jagged remains.
Until then, men and women, huddling outside your frozen moat, embrace to keep each other warm, near children wrapped in blankets.
We look at photographs (of rivers, mountains, bells, windmills, roads, guitars, admirable souls, lovely people), which shimmer with a beauty that can thaw our swiftly numbing hands.
Cold buckets, filled with bruised memories, iced strawberries, and wet sand, sit with agonized patience within the soul of history –
And no life will survive without the fire of grace.