This cold brings tears

For the dverse open link night, a serpent’s tail poem, a particular form of chain rhyme.


This cold brings tears,

sears frozen cheeks,

speaks with a voice of steel.

Peeling the bark from trees,

freezing ice splinters,

winter’s path wends, shadow-walking,

talking in tongues of ice,

splicing streamers of mist and rain

again and again, festooning,

crooning crone songs low.

Slow dawn comes at last,

blasts of northwind bringing,

singing of more snow to come,

some day though, spring’s kiss.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

33 thoughts on “This cold brings tears”

  1. Jane, today is one of those days that your poem is felt deep within my bones. As Toronto Board of Health has declare an extreme cold alert for the city. The expected wind chill dipping to -24 C, overnight. The first warning for this winter season.

  2. Like Therisa said, its very cold here, right now icy -10C. So your poem of tongues of ice really resonated with me. Looking forward to that spring’s kiss.

  3. Ah yes, the purpose of January and February — anticipation of Spring’s kiss! You graphically described my weather today!

  4. I can feel winter “talking in tongues of ice” ..the feeling is palpable in your verse! Fortunately it doesn’t go below 2C here 😮

  5. I really like this form, Jane – it fits the topic and, although I’m wearing my lovely, warm, cosy cardigan, and have a little heat here in my ‘study’, the ‘ee’ sounds in the opening lines and the alliterative ‘freezing ice splinters’ have me thinking ‘Ee by gum it’s cold!’ I especially enjoy the imagery in the lines:
    ‘winter’s path wends, shadow-walking,
    talking in tongues of ice,
    splicing streamers of mist and rain’.

  6. I really like the way this flowed, one image to the next–but the whole a sense of freezing cold. Yikes! And still more months to get through before that kiss of spring. Sometimes here, we’ve had snow in March.

    1. Thank you 🙂 Cold stream of consciousness perhaps. We don’t get snow here, but in the north of France and in Paris we had snow in April a few times. Our son was born in an April blizzard.

      1. When I really want to scare myself I read about the winter of 1956 that started with a polar blast on February1 and lasted for three weeks. It went down to -8°F here, but there were places in France where it reached -26°F. They had tremendous snowfalls too and in the Lot the plane trees exploded with the cold. I think I might have nightmares again tonight…

  7. I’m so thankful we are not experiencing this where I live this year. It’s staying in the balmy 40s, even hitting 50 now and then. The flowers and tree buds are confused, but I am happy to not be dealing with snow, ice, and biting wind, which you’ve portrayed quite well in this poem.

    1. Actually our daytime temperatures are in the top 50s most of the time and we very rarely get even a few flakes of snow, but we’ve had a string of nights of frost which make the house very chilly.

  8. What a great form! A serpent’s tail poem – I haven’t heard of that before. I really like the internalization of those rhymes . You’re awfully good at it! I really appreciated the combination of true and slant rhymes- you made it all seem effortless. On top of that the artistry of your imagery left me shivering. Love how the cold talks – we so often think of winter as hushed forgetting how noisy it can be.

    1. Thank you, Christine! It’s similar to the form of chain rhyme that isn’t really a rhyme at all, where the last syllable of one line becomes the first syllable of the next. I take the whole word and make it rhyme, the last word rhyming with the first. I like the effect too 🙂 Yes, the cold can be noisy, and the sounds can be menacing, especially if you’re outdoors and struggling to live in it!

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