Holding On I

The bar before my eyes
I see it freeze and
Grasp the thing - 
My undoing - here is

Bravery unsound but
Minded, proud, the 
Freezing of mere hand is
Nought to worry about.

Feel the fingers stick as if
Clamped there by some
Vast force coldly.  Can't let 
Go now if I wanted to.

Pain endured is pain learned
Real and living, pain that
Slashes the heart, flows 
Blood in gifts to wash you clean.

And now the ice comes
Like a wild animal - stealthily
I feel it creep over me
And gnaw my unfelt feet.

I am numbed by my
Own disease.  External
Frost cannot hurt this
Hold in place - to thaw

Now would be a miracle.
Succumbed to Fate it was
Too strong - an ironbound road 
Long, steep, shod me to it

So I climbed and froze - I
Could not do otherwise. 
And now my hand is in
Its vice rightly.  My body

Stiffens, bone welds to
Bone by frost upon frost and 
Winter's breath merciless.  
Rigid-skinned, I cannot move, 

Cannot free the grip on me -
Dying I am in stasis far
From home with shrouding
Snow about my face that only

I could abide - marked and
Trained by its fell hand.  It has
Barred the gate behind me and
Stifling, gloats.  No way back -

Tangled and black are all
Bad roads through former
Climes - they would not
Admit me now.  I must endure

This winter till it
Goes - this war of
Attrition one of us
Will win, one lose.
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