When All Is Cold and Ice, and We Are Winter Weary

The fall book tour was good, it was very good, and on its heels came a flight to New York City, and after that pneumonia, and on pneumonia’s heels came Christmas, and after that the polar vortex and after that, well, here we are in the midst of a new vortex–yes? Such is life.

I am posting this poem as placeholder, to keep the blog here current. I am in the midst of new poems, a  new book, and new submissions, but for now, I offer this, “A Thousand Rumis,” and the blue-white sparkle of sunlight on snow. It’s from my last book, page 29, and remember you can still buy that here or, if you must, here. And it would be just lovely of you to review it here.

A Thousand Rumis 

The blue-white sparkle of sunlight
on snow—it’s like that. Too much
to take in, too achingly beautiful.
Like starlight: sharp. You shield your eyes
against what is most wonderful
hide from what hurts. It all hurts.

Better to be blind, and deaf
and dumb to it all. No hands
no face, no way to love.

Still, stumps and wounds, weary
you would take in more than
a thousand Rumis could sing in chorus
need to protect yourself from the wonder
of so much beauty in this lost world.

I’m sorry, and sorry, and sorry
for what you must bear, and still
there is this: you must.  



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2 Responses to When All Is Cold and Ice, and We Are Winter Weary

  1. Dave G.

    Thanks very much for posting this beautiful poem. I found it to be personally touching in many ways.

    I also read a review of your most recent book that described your poetry in terms of “a meditation on illness.” Do you agree with that? If so, does that refer to your own illness of some kind, or that of a family member or friend? A few months ago, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with a very rare and serious disease, and have been trying to wrap my head around it, somehow. I want to make something good come out of it, but I’m not sure how.

    Thanks again.

    • paulajlambert


      Thanks, first, for your kind words. And, yes, I do think it’s fair to call the book a “meditation on illness,” as Scott Woods does in his blurb. But I had intended from the beginning for it to be more than that. The book centers on the concept of falling, as that was the primary symptom of the illness I suffer from. I was twice misdiagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), until a doctor finally correctly identified the issues as a severe hormonal disorder affecting my full endocrine system. I never wanted the book to be just about me and my illness, though. Falling serves as a metaphor. We all fall, every day, in all kinds of ways. We all have to pick ourselves up and find ways to move on.

      I’m very sorry to hear of your diagnosis, and yes, it’s quite a difficult thing to come to terms with. I do believe, though, sincerely, that suffering builds compassion, and that is a valuable thing. One of the poems in the book, “Jesus Squared,” centers on this concept:

      …Agony, afer all,
      begets compassion. It’s the secret all
      sufferers know, the key to our survival
      what draws us to each other, provides
      that surface tension, keeps our too-full
      cups from spilling. Cups too full not
      just from pain. Cups too full of love
      the love that keeps our balance, brings
      us back, gives us reason to go on, and on
      the love that too few feel and we must
      provide, even when we’re so tired, when
      we can’t see who we’re here for, can’t
      walk or talk or bear to do more…”

      I wish you well, Dave, and thank you for commenting.