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This poem is taken from PN Review 155, Volume 30 Number 3, January - February 2004.

The Middleton Poems Gillian Clarke

The Ice-House

The door leads into the hill
to a bat hibernaculum,
house of wintering shadows

folded and packed as tight as ice,
till warmth thaws them, sends them skittering
into a summer dusk.

Paxton's ice-house, not Frigidaire,
not our immaculate tabernacles
of white enamel stowed with cold.

We sip, watching the evening bats,
the tinkle in a glass reminding water
of the earth it came from.


Ice Harvest

With block and tackle, grappling iron, axe,
they'd lift the lid off the lake. In a rare year
an acre could yield a thousand tons.
...


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