ice fever

ICE FEVER     (with apologies to John Masefield)

October creeps — the days grow short—
and there’s a fever that starts to rise
The symptoms come, my face is glum,
as I scan the bleak fall skies

I check the gear, I check the temps,
look over the maps and scheme:
How many miles to Canada’s ponds
or the hike to a high pond’s gleam?

I must get out on a lake again,
and sound ice black or white
And feel the moan of a winter wind,
that cuts like a whetted knife

I miss my buddies tried and true,
and the tales we love to tell:
when Sebago froze from shore to shore,
and we sailed like bats from hell

I long to put on a boiler suit
and insert my heat packs right
To sharpen those spikes on the old ice boots
and pull my face mask tight

Then I’d clip the “claws” around my neck
and grab my ice axe true
and lightly step on that glistening black
and pray that I won’t break through

I long to see that shiny pane,
with bubbles and a view below
as it barks and groans with cracks that shoot
like arrows from Neptune’s bow

I must leave this house and it endless chores,
and this life– both love and bore–
to seek again those open skies
and spread my wings once more.

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