Walking in winter through empty streets
In greyness and bitter cold,
The sound of frost and smell of mould
Swell from our dragging feet.
We came deep of dreams and buoyant faith
From the glory of August sun.
But the ice hangs thick, so fire anyone?
To warm us by hotel hearth.
Buying is off in the desolate roads;
The keepers are all at home.
Windows are bare and lights succumb
To the torpor of New Year shrouds.
Breakfast is done: we must venture out
From the heat of our small bedroom
Into the biting wind and the gloom
And the blackness that makes us doubt
Of wisdom and thoughts that this would work,
Desires and pleasures seemed real.
But reality has a definite feel
As we make our way through the murk.
Three days seem so long as we shiver and shake,
In the freeze and the blast of the east.
Much seeking for warmth, found somewhere at last,
We have tea every hour with helpings of cake.
One night to go, and home we will drive
With memories a plenty to store,
And the ice left behind on the Suffolk shore
Where others will come half alive.