The Little Ice Age  

Europe shivered for centuries in the Little Ice Age.  
Rivers froze; crops failed;                                                           
people chewed on pine bark, begged             
the stubborn heavens for mercy;                                  
people starved.                                                                        

That's why the Stradivarius cries so convincingly.                  
It's the wood remembering,
the stunned wood shuddering,                                                 
too numb to grow,
the tree rings huddled close against the cold. 
                                     
            -- first published in Field

listen Listen to Chana Bloch reading " The Little Ice Age"