Monday, February 12, 2007

But If It Had to Perish Twice . . .

These photos were sent to me in an e-mail; they were taken in a town called Versoix, Switzerland, and the title of the missive was "You think you're cold?"

The images got me thinking of setting and its power to evoke mood, both in life and literature. This is not just ice, it's a city turned to ice, frozen motion, and there's something both terrifying and beautiful about it, almost as though we have to be reminded of Nature's power in different ways, sometimes, in order for us to see that it is universal.
And naturally, because everything reminds me of poetry, either that someone has written or that I would like to write, I thought of Robert Frost's famous poem, "Fire and Ice."

Fire and Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is just as great,
And would suffice.
I also wonder about the people of Versoix. Is this a regular occurrence for them, something they take in stride each winter? Or were even they surprised by the intensity of this ice, the seeming permanence of it, as though Poseidon had cast a frozen curse upon the land?
In any case, the e-mail served its purpose; sure, it's snowing again here in Chicagoland, and it's supposed to snow all week, but it won't be that much of an effort for me to flick the light stuff off of my car windows. And when I do I'll think of the ice in Versoix.


Anonymous said...

Very impressive. I wonder how the photographer got around or even managed to remain standing to take the shots!

Julia Buckley said...

I know! Wouldn't you think he or she would be constantly be landing on his/her posterior? And there are no shoes on earth that can get traction on that kind of ice!

Keith Raffel said...

Julia, I hope lots of your readers are going to curl up with Dark Backward on one of these icy nights. I had to know what happened and stayed up till 1AM finishing it last Thursday. Congrats! Keith R

Julia Buckley said...

You are awesome to say so, Keith--thank you! Maybe while everyone else is at Malice you and I can have lunch in Chicago. Notice I am making YOU get on the plane.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful indeed.
Apparently hundreds of years ago the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Latvia used to freeze solid in the winter, allowing people to cross. And halfway across, someone built a halfway-house hotel, made of ice, just for the winter.....
This reminded me of that. :)
(I'm not saying I ever saw it, obviously. I'm old, but not that old).

Julia Buckley said...

Sorry, Mike--based on your bio, you're not old by anyone's definition. But that's a lovely, icy image.