1

On Most Surfaces By The Gathering (from their Nighttime Birds album) has the following lyrics:

The frost hits me in the eye and wakes me
These are blurry winters and I cannot see

I walk into the white light of the snow
When the sun comes
I break it with my shadow
Which tells me where I go

The frost hits me in the eye and wakes me

I am the snow falling down on you
I tear up your face with my frost
And make you run to somewhere warm
When I come I see you get away
I burst out about your emptiness

Why is the line "The frost hits me in the eye and wakes me" immediately followed by the lines "I am the snow falling down on you / I tear up your face with my frost"? Is the last verse still written from the perspective of the original narrator, or does it change "perspectives" and now write from the "perspective" of the snow itself? If it's still being written from the perspective of the original narrator, what accounts for the "transformation" from being "acted upon" by the snow to being the snow itself?

4

On the surface (no pun intended :P), one might presume that there are two narrators: the original speaker and the snow. But I interpret the whole last stanza as metaphorical. The speaker is "the snow falling down on you" perhaps in the sense that the speaker's coldness toward others makes them flee toward places or people of more emotional warmth, causing the speaker to despair. Perhaps it is also in the sense that the speaker's coldness toward her humanity or even her own self causes this part of her personality to depart, leaving the other part despondent.

But the metaphor goes deeper, because snow is something that is by nature cold. The metaphor suggests that the speaker is by nature cold and cannot change this part of her personality, or else she (or at least a part of her) will die, as snow melts when it gets too warm.

Another component of this beautiful metaphor is that the speaker's quick change in perspective demonstrates perhaps an uncanny empathetical insight or sense of oneness with the universe. The speaker is hit in the eye and made unable to see by the snow, as well as woken up (or, by metaphorical extension, brought to see reality more closely) by the snow, yet at the same time, she is the snow. This external force which both jolted her awake and obscured her path was part of her all along.

This quick metaphorical flitting back and forth of perspective reminds me of a similar instance in line 4 of Mark Strand's poem, "The Good Life":

You stand at the window.
There is a glass cloud in the shape of a heart.
There are the wind’s sighs that are like caves in your speech.
You are the ghost in the tree outside.

The street is quiet.
The weather, like tomorrow, like your life,
is partially here, partially up in the air.
There is nothing that you can do.

The good life gives no warning.
It weathers the climates of despair
and appears, on foot, unrecognized, offering nothing,
and you are there.

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