Winter is mathematics. Fingers tell
days without food, days when there’s two inch ice
on puddles, when they do the roll-call twice,
Shoot those who faint. You count those dead as well.
Work out the distance of those saviour guns
in days and hours. Surely shrink to few.
Some will survive perhaps. Perhaps it’s you.
Notice which guards have left. If some guard runs
in ice and fog, He’s gone. Perhaps he’ll freeze
perhaps be shot. Left naked in the snow.
As you may well be, probably you know.
And count the death of every cough or sneeze.
Winter’s economist that savage lord
counts kills the lazy sick or merely bored.