Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fiery Thoughts from the Deep Freeze


New York is in a snap of Arctic weather, that cold air that comes down from Canada every once in a while to wake up we island dwellers a bit.

The subway home was more crowded than usual tonight, as usual walkers came in from the cold. It looked like a strange fat farm, or a scene from a Weebles Town, with everyone rotundly bundled in gortex and wool.

As I surveyed the variety of hats on heads, my eye caught a quote in the subway ad space above the hats:

“One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it.” Vincent Van Gogh

The blazing hearth in the coldness of isolation. Fire and ice.

Ah, the famous 1952 Revlon campaign by Avedon for their line of matching red lipstick and nail polish.

The firey colors of Van Gogh’s own painting. The heat within the bleakness of his own madness.

The cold gives me a sense of suspension, of anticipation. There’s a sharp cleanness to the air, as though it is separating the future-—which begins on Tuesday---from our difficult recent past. Much of the reality of that past will of course cross over into our future, but the world will be different when Barack Obama assumes power in the bleakness of January.

And now for the poetic view of "Fire and Ice" from an inauguration poet:

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 also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost

2 comments:

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

I wonder if Frost would have treated the subject differently if he'd been called Ember or Warmley?

M.A.Peel said...

Christopher, very well likely. I never noticed the temperature side of Robert's name before myself.