Saturday, December 16, 2017

Monika Ajay Kaul writes

Winter is making Strides..!!

The gainsboro winter sky
flaunted its Jack Frost coats,
ignoring the hues of leaving Autumn.
Each hue bright and rich started fading
as the Sun lost its blaze.

Sand like sugar underfoot,
the walkway makes crunching noise.
Airy chill blows aside me
takes me right into the happening
into the jiffy of each; being ... Still

Now the florets rest asleep
on these grown old trees,
resting their aloof arms.
Smiling little snobbish smiles
bereft of those singing fronds.

Perhaps, for as much as
they miss the sunny days
and love the winter-time too.
But the scent of fresh snowflakes
roused the humid earthy sod.
Agricultural Buildings Painting - Landscape With Milkmaid by Thomas Gainsborough
 Landscape with Milkmaid -- Thomas Gainsborough


  1. Fornjótr was an ancient giant and king of "Gotland, Kænland and Finnland" who had 3 children, Ægir (the ruler of the sea), Logi (the ruler of fire), and Kári (ruler of wind). Kári was the father of Frosti (frost) according to the Orkneyinga saga (The History of the Earls of Orkney, written ca. 1230) but named Jökull (icicle, ice, glacier) in the "Hversu Noregr byggðist" (How Norway was inhabited, written about a century later). This son (whose names were conflayed as Jack Frost in English) was the father of Snærr inn gamli (Snow the Old), who had a son Thorri (frozen-snow) and 3 daughters Fönn (Snowdrift), Drífa (snowfall), and Mjöll (powdered snow). Around 1225 Snorri Sturluson claimed in the "Heimskringla" that Drifa married Vanlandi Man from the Land of the Vanir, the Norse gods associated with fertility) the ruler of Svíþjóðar (Sweden), but he left in the spring and never returned; their son Visbur (Old Norse for "Certain/Undoubted Son") bribed Odin's mistress, the witch Huld, to kill him if he refused to return to Finnland. (Huld later arranged for Visbur to be slain by his own sons.) Thorri succeeded his father as king and either offered the great sacrifice at midwinter or was sacrificed to by the Kæns (his name was applied both to the sacrice and to the winter month it occurred in). He had a daughter named Gói (thin snow, track-snow) and two sons Nórr and Górr. Gói disappeared one year and the time of the sacrifice, so Thorri held a 2nd feast the following month to discover her fate. (That sacrifice and its month were subsequently named after her.) After 3 years he sent Nórr and Górr to find her. After Nórr conquered Noregr (Norway) he discovered that Gói had been abducted by Hrólfr í Bergr (Hrólf of the Hill), the son of the giant Svaði; after a long combat Hrólf kept Gói as his wife and Nórr married Hrólf's sister Hödd. Later the two brothers divided their conquests between them; Nórr ruled the mainland, and Górr the surrounding islands.

  2. “Jack Frost” eventually became the personification of frost, ice, snow, sleet, winter, and freezing cold, held responsible for frosty weather, nipping the fingers and toes in wintertime, coloring the foliage in autumn, and leaving fern-like patterns on cold windows in winter; he was often depicted with a bucket and paintbrush, coloring autumnal foliage. He used to be frequently portrayed as a dangerous giant, befitting his origins as Jökull/Frosti, but beginning in the late 19th century he took on the appearance of a sprite-like character, sometimes appearing as a sinister mischief maker or as a hero. Hannah Flagg Gould's early 19th-century poem "The Frost" featured a mischievous being responsible for the quieter phenomena of winter such as the beautiful ice paintings on windows who became upset and caused the cold to break and ruin things. In 1902 L. Frank Baum portrayed him in “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” as the son of the Frost King who enjoyed nipping "scores of noses and ears and toes," but Santa Claus asked the "jolly rogue" to spare the children; in Baum’s short story, "The Runaway Shadows," Jack had the power to freeze shadows, separate them from their owners, ad make them their own living entities. In 1965 Elizabeth Bishop published “First Death In Nova Scotia”:
    In the cold, cold parlor
    my mother laid out Arthur
    beneath the chromographs:
    Edward, Prince of Wales,
    with Princess Alexandra,
    and King George with Queen Mary.
    Below them on the table
    stood a stuffed loon
    shot and stuffed by Uncle
    Arthur, Arthur's father.

    Since Uncle Arthur fired
    a bullet into him,
    he hadn't said a word.
    He kept his own counsel
    on his white, frozen lake,
    the marble-topped table.
    His breast was deep and white,
    cold and caressable;
    his eyes were red glass,
    much to be desired.

    "Come," said my mother,
    "Come and say good-bye
    to your little cousin Arthur."
    I was lifted up and given
    one lily of the valley
    to put in Arthur's hand.
    Arthur's coffin was
    a little frosted cake,
    and the red-eyed loon eyed it
    from his white, frozen lake.

    Arthur was very small.
    He was all white, like a doll
    that hadn't been painted yet.
    Jack Frost had started to paint him
    the way he always painted
    the Maple Leaf (Forever).
    He had just begun on his hair,
    a few red strokes, and then
    Jack Frost had dropped the brush
    and left him white, forever.

    The gracious royal couples
    were warm in red and ermine;
    their feet were well wrapped up
    in the ladies' ermine trains.
    They invited Arthur to be
    the smallest page at court.
    But how could Arthur go,
    clutching his tiny lily,
    with his eyes shut up so tight
    and the roads deep in snow?

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  4. You elucidated it so well, Duane.
    Thank-you so much for introducing me to this beautiful world of Aesthetics.
    Humbled, I'm.

    I loved the apt visual and the verses that you appended with my poem. It added winsomeness to my post. Thank-you once again.. :)


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