The Winter is the Winter’s Own Release : January, by Helen Hunt Jackson

January.  Not the most attractive of months – but what does Helen Hunt Jackson have to say about it?



O winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire
The streams than under ice. June could not hire
Her roses to forego the strength they learn
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire
In vain to build.
O Heart, when Love’s sun goes
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease,
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,
The winter is the winter’s own release.


(And here – in reponse to the many hundreds of you who have written in asking for a photograph – is the author herself –

Helen Hunt Jackson


I fancy a resemblance to Yvonne Goolagong, the popular aboriginal tennis player of the 1970s – though I have no evidence that they are in any way related) –


Yvonne Goolagong


2 thoughts on “The Winter is the Winter’s Own Release : January, by Helen Hunt Jackson

  1. I think there was a selection of Herrick’s poems published last year by Faber, in the Poet to Poet Series, which looks pretty good and shouldn’t be too hard to get hold of. There was a very good selection by Ian Hamilton published by Bloomsbury in 1996, which I think is still in print (and an attractive physical edition too), which is certainly still available via Amazon.

    There was an Oxford Standard edition published in the sixties which was fairly complete, but I think is probably out of print now.

    This website gives a very good selection (with illustrations and bits of music) – – and there is a website produced by Newcastle and OUP which is aiming to publish every poem he wrote (which is a lot).

    Personally I’d go for the Bloomsbury ed., if you can get hold of it.

    I don’t think HHJ’s poems have ever been published in the UK. There do seem to be various editions published by American University presses available via Amazon. Otherwise it’s back to the internet.

    Hope that helps!

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