Howard Nemerov

Here you will find the Poem The Icehouse In Summer of poet Howard Nemerov

The Icehouse In Summer

A door sunk in a hillside, with a bolt 
thick as the boy?s arm, and behind that door 
the walls of ice, melting a blue, faint light, 
an air of cedar branches, sawdust, fern: 
decaying seasons keeping from decay. 

A summer guest, the boy had never seen 
(a servant told him of it) how the lake 
froze three foot thick, how farmers came with teams, 
with axe and saw, to cut great blocks of ice, 
translucid, marbled, glittering in the sun, 
load them on sleds and drag them up the hill 
to be manhandled down the narrow path 
and set in courses for the summer?s keeping, 
the kitchen uses and luxuriousness 
of the great houses. And he heard how once 
a team and driver drowned in the break of spring: 
the man?s cry melting from the ice that summer 
frightened the sherbet-eaters off the terrace. 

Dust of the cedar, lost and evergreen 
among the slowly blunting water walls 
where the blade edge melted and the steel saw?s bite 
was rounded out, and the horse and rider drowned 
in the red sea?s blood, I was the silly child 
who dreamed that riderless cry, and saw the guests 
run from a ghostly wall, so long before 
the winter house fell with the summer house, 
and the houses, Egypt, the great houses, had an end.