From Moscow to London, Stockholm to Venice
the world froze at 10, 12, 15 below
for three months. Wine froze in bottles, cows in byres,
and wolves came down to villages scavenging.
Tree trunks shattered. Church bells once rung fractured.
Travellers crossed the Baltic on horse-back,
skaters glided under the Rialto.
The War of Spanish Succession was paused
for more clement weather – and regiments
of Swedish soldiers died in Russian blizzards,
ceding victory in the Great Northern War
to Peter the Great almost by default.