Winter Sunrise

And all the ones I love are far from me
My fire is pale and cold
My hands die slowly
By degrees.

There is only me and my breath
In this freeze -
We both are white -
Both face death in the spirit
In the blood.

And all of his kind words
Empty into air
A cup drained dry
Of brimming loss, despair,

And what keeps me here
Amid this pain 
Of dying, freezing days
All white and thin, is

Duty and 
To do the best I can:
Once round the track
All the weight of it ...

Is the breaking thing -
In time the band will snap -

And the hand will empty
Palm curved-in
In parley 
To catch the sun.
Life by Degrees
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