The Cold Almanac: Midwinter Fire

The Cold Almanac is a storage place. It is a collection of work that expands upon and works around the cold.

Midwinter Fire

Bare branches flush red ember, gold flame. Cornus Sanguinea, Midwinter Fire, they named her, shrouded perennially in a deadish green so that during dark and hollow times she might disrobe revelatory and set the world alight. She is a deciduous and ornamental flame whose shackles are the bare bones made illusory. 

As for fire, so for women—hot, dancing, repressible flames—made as votives, pyres and beacons—signalling devotion

signalling sex

signalling feast

signalling revelry

signalling danger

and redemption

Despite ourselves, we are not the surging rivers of flames and wheels of fire in Dante’s inferno but the moral path in purgatory where ‘those who sinned in voluptuousness are purified by fire.’ A place where the Virgin Mary’s pity—sovereign of this liminal space—‘could pierce, like the light of Bernard’s star, into the abyss of darkness, illuminate even the blackest of soul, and save him from damnation.’ Dante’s ‘living human creature’ Beatrice makes it literal, appearing on the chariot of revelation ‘dressed in the colour of living flame, under a white veil and green mantle.’

And so she—the fire, those branches—become allegorical, antithetical, aphoristic. 

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