Beneath The Surface

Posted: January 15, 2017 in thought stream

This weekend at Toads, Magaly wants us to take a quote from the latest book we’ve read and weave a poem round it. I’ve just finished Nadine Gordimer’s seminal A World of Strangers- see http://withrealtoads.

‘I met myself in the thin ice of the bathroom mirror’ ~ Toby Hood  in A World Of Strangers by Nadine Gordimer

Brittle wind snaps round each
street corner. Chills the next
breath before you take it.
Blade sharp. Touching your
marrow. This cold has spread

a sheet across the river.
Smoothed out every ripple
and anxiety. A calm veneer
cast in the ringing black night.
Beneath the ice lies another

world of glittered stones,
debris streaming by, fronds
reaching out grasping
at the current, water
flowing against the wind.


  1. Kerry O'Connor says:

    I enjoyed the reading of the poem: your phrasing and line breaks make for an interest accumulative effect, and I gathered up each image in turn, with the senses on full alert.

  2. I really like how you used the ice and cold throughout from the quote.. the phrasing worked very well

  3. You’ve taken the quote and done something I truly love: you’ve showed us where the thin ice came from, let us walk with your words through the process of its birth… So many images, so many truths.

  4. Sherry Marr says:

    Winter chill, wonderfully captured.

  5. Rommy says:

    I love the contrast between the smooth uniformity of the ice, and the lively world flowing underneath it.

  6. Amy Jo says:

    For starters, I ADORE Gordimer (The Pick Up), and this is written in such a way you feel each line and each blending of and into the next. That’s like sex drugs and rock and roll in a poem–when it reads that way. Well done

  7. Winter chills, like a broken mirror in shards of glass. Beautiful, Paul.

  8. Wow, what you did with that first stanza was amazing. The words snapped with imagery.

  9. Rosemary Nissen-Wade says:

    A wonderful poem (even though I hate the cold you so vividly conjure).

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