A man I barely know and rarely understand
Happened to observe to me that on the sixth day
Of January, seventeen-nine, The Great Frost
Of Western Europe, coldest winter in a half
A millennium (do the math and pity peasants
Of the High Medieval century even more),
Began. Four days later, in a bitter cold world,
Abraham Darby made cast iron in a blast
Furnace using coke fuel. The Industrial Age
Had begun. Will it ever be so cold again?
Will the Thames, the Rhine, or the Seine ever freeze hard
Enough for those who are not dying to skate them?