Glass sculpture, Dale Chihuly, Sleeping Lady resort, Leavenworth, WA


A brilliant beard of ice
As harsh and heavy as glass
Hangs from the edge of the roof.
The spikes a child breaks off

Taste of wool and the sun.
In the house, some straw for a bed,
Circled by a little train,
Is the tiny image of God.

The sky is a fiery blue,
And a fiery morning light
Burns on the perfect snow:
Not one track in the street.

Just as the carols tell
Everything is calm and bright:
The town lying still
Frozen silver and white.

Is only one child awake,
To splinter the shining stems? —
Knocking them down with a stick,
Striking the crystal chimes.

–Robert Pinsky, poet laureate 1998


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4 Responses to Icicles

  1. very beautiful poem and picture. they go well together.

    • Sharon

      I have been there and seen its sharpness in the cold with great friends! Actually when you (Laura) were at the Sleeping Lady for a retreat before your book was released. Thank you for the reminder! -Sharon

  2. That sculpture is fantastic. I use the Chihuly background on my Chrome browser right now because it’s so striking.

    And the poem is wonderful. I love the line “Taste of wool and sun.” I can see the mittened hand holding the icicle right before the child gives it a lick.

  3. Kathy O'Neill

    Dear Laura,

    I can remember similar icicles hanging off the eves of my parents home while growing up. The notes and sounds that they made as they clinked against one another and then quietly fell into the soft and cotton looking snow below has remained firmly in my my mind.

    I do believe that there are not accidents, everything in our lives happens for a specific reason, at at the exact time that it is intended to. There is a for a purpose for everything.

    Similarly, I do believe that the Universe sends messages at the exact moment it is intended. Yesterday, I spent several hours with my Grandmother who is in the hospital, She is transitioning to the next stage of being. I spent hours stroking her hair, rubbing her forehead, holding her hand and engaging in sporadic conversation. When I felt it was time to head home because it had been snowing all day, I gave my love, kissed her forehead and said my goodbyes.

    Heavy hearted I I headed down the elevator, and out into the snowy weather that awaited me. As I walked out of the hospital I felt the need to take a deep breath of cold, crisp, clear air to replace the stagnant smell of death that had filled my lungs. As I did so my cell phone chimed. When I looked at it. the message I had received was this post………..

    Thanks for the icicles, and all of the innocence that goes along with them. To me, at that moment, it was a message about life….there are those moments of true innocence where the icicles hang in the balance…youth and candor abound. But on the other hand there are those moments where the icicles no longer exists, they fall into the snow that lies below them and sink into it. They leave there indent, their impression. Much like the people in our lives leave an indent and impression on our hearts. It is amazing how precisely the timing in the Universe works…….thank you for sharing this, and the message was clearly received.

    All the best,


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