Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lethal Frosty

Frost (frôst)

1. (v.tr.) To cover with frost. To damage or kill by frost. To anger or upset.
2. (n.) A cold or icy manner. A deposit of ice crystals formed when water vapor condenses at a temperature below freezing.
3. Frôst, Robert Lee,1874-1963. American poet.

Lethal Frosty hides his vicious teeth
beneath his beauty. I hide beneath
the quilts and ponder yesterday’s news:
The frost that sparkles on the rooftops,
a lovely blanket, and those lacy crystals
on the window are harbingers of death.
Death slipped its frosty fingers
through the windows and killed a man,
age 93, in Michigan, on the same day
Robert Frost died, he who penned his epitaph:
“I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

I think of the lover’s quarrel beneath
the cozy bedclothes that enfold me.
My breath is white, and the glass
in the window is a jigsaw puzzle of crystals.
I lie beside you covered to the nose,
still as a chipmunk lest I wake you
and you move, stirring cold air
underneath the nest of blankets.

You sleep hard like a tired child,
unaware of me, the glassy air,
the pocket of heat in which I lie
beside your back, unaware
too of cold hard words spoken
late last night between us.
Frost damage has burned
our tender edges and killed
our fragile growth.

Trussed in my warm coffin,
I shiver at the question
of how you will treat me
when you wake up:
Will you be as frost to me?
And will I be as deeply chilled?


Lovers' quarrels used to be detrimental to my health. I usually got suicidal over them. I couldn't bear that frosty rejection.
Then I got sober, and in the first year of recovery, God saw to it that I wasn't in a relationship. I wasn't lonely either, because lots of meetings kept my mind and body busy.
Then I met the man who would later become my husband. He was four years sober, and we went to meetings together, dating very carefully. Three times divorced, he would often tell me, "I don't know how to have a healthy relationship. Maybe if I just do everything differently, we'll have a chance."
So we learned to love each other, but it meant many battles with old behaviors and old ideas. The first time we had a lovers' quarrel, I got very nervous. But I managed to tell him how I felt, and he had mercy on me, the first of many times that man was going to have forgiveness for me over the 18 years (so far) of our relationship.
We had our heated arguments, but we tried to make up before we went to sleep at night. Sometimes it just didn't happen, because the problems went deep. That's when I wrote this poem. Worried one more time about rejection, I didn't know for certain we'd survive.
Forgiveness has been our saving grace many, many times. We had promised we would never run from each other, and sometimes that was the only thing that made us stay. God always helped one of us regain our sanity in time to forgive and go on. And when one forgives, the other becomes free to do so too.
We let go of our old ideas, and our new, sober behaviors with each other became habits that brought us back together time after time. I know for certain now that we will always survive, because forgiveness and mercy are part of our lives.


RNSANE said...

You are such an incredible writer. Your poem says so much. I know that feeling of lying there after a quarrel, cold, wondering what the morning will bring.

Your narrative says even more..about two people who love each other and have made such a commitment to stay together for the long haul, to learn to forgive and to work together for sobriety.

Mariana Soffer said...

Hi my new friend I really enjoy reading your post, I liked this one, besides you can see that since I am not "in the mood for love" now I have a good reason to say nasty things about it. Thanks for that

People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.

Take care

the walking man said...

It is time to let go of ALL of the old fears and know yourself as God knows you Just Chris.

Karen said...

Because we are human and, therefore, flawed, forgiveness and mercy must always be part of our lives, else our hearts harden and turn to stone.

The poem is lovely.

Madison said...

This is a beautiful poem. He sounds like a keeper. You did good.

Shadow said...

amen to this, chris.

Brian Miller said...

we can become comfortable in that warm coffin, letting silence take over where harsh words left off...hammering the nails in the lid...forgiveness is good, better to live there...smiles.

Poetikat said...

Hi Chris!

Just making quick stopovers to send my best for a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!


Dianne said...

You have intuition, Chris, I like the clear way you write. I was actually playing with the idea of frost (physical) and frozen dead relationships in my last poem for a couple of weeks.

You put the thaw on it with forgiveness.

Love you

Julie said...

Chris, as always, you give me much to think about. The poem is fantastic, and what you say about forgiveness and mercy makes so much sense.

I'm glad you have a good relationship now. It must have been hell back then...all the worry and confusion. It's only natural that you would bring that same worry into your next relationship. You portray the uncertainty of the "frost" so vividly in your poem. Your husband now sounds wonderful.

I will be offline a bit for Christmas travel, but I look forward to reading what you have posted next week. Again, I have to say what a pleasure it has been to meet you and read your work. Best wishes to you and your family!

Monkey Man said...

Great post and meaningful back story. FEAR used to control me - Fuck Everything And Run. I stay still today.

Berowne said...

Wonderful to learn that it seems to finally have worked out okay. It should resultl in a happy Christmas time.

Tall Kay said...

Relationships take lots of work, and forgiveness and patience. You are blessed to be married to a man who was willing to stick it out...no matter what. It warms my heart to hear success stories like yours. Love and hugs to you both!

lakeviewer said...

You captured the brutal frost of fear when two lovers have a lot to lose. You are now living with your eyes wide open, with your senses heightened, with faith and humility.

This poem was a great reminder of how fragile things are, even long relationships.

Syd said...

I struggle with why I was sticking things out over the long haul when there was so much that would cause anyone to leave. I know that I am loyal but how much of my behavior of staying was just enabling? As long as I was willing to put up with poor behavior, then the poor behavior didn't stop. It was only when I said that I was leaving, that my wife got sober and has been ever since.

Today I'm still learning how to take care and protect myself from alcoholic behavior. I am getting better at boundaries but I fear that I have a long way to go.