Tineke De Meyer
No Cold Can Hold
A piece of sound and spoken word, commissioned by the artist Aidan Moesby
and created in response to his project about climate change and mental health ‘I was naked smelling of rain’.
Live performance at as part of Aidan Moesby’s ‘Emotional Weather Bureau’ event at The Art House in Wakefield, november 2019
You wrote me how the cold can do miracles.
Like that day in Oslo when you had very badly cut your finger on a tin of sardines?
The cold slowed down your profuse bleeding.
And like an acorn needs a deep frost, in order to grow into an Oak tree.

It made me think of a walk I once made on a frozen lake.
On that frozen lake, even the waves were gripped in midair,
and locals said
that “this sometimes just happens overnight”.
But about the horses,
that were frozen in the lake, they had barely anything to say.
It seemed the horses had been caught in the ice
while in mid-struggle or mid-flight,
with now only their heads still sticking out.
But the locals just said: it all happened overnight.

And so I walked on this lake, amongst these frozen horses.
The water was old-grey,
its loneliness stretched out into the forest in front of me
I couldn’t see, how far exactly.
The wind blew cold,
both above the ice and in the world of struggle under me.
Frozen while trying with all their force to fly.
My cheeks were burning with the cold or with their tears,
their powerful hearts were moving in mine.

Someone once told me,
we are all ice wanting to be water.
Wanting to move freely.
To be a flood no cold can hold.

You know, what’s funny.
Thinking about the weather, often brings my grandfather to my thoughts.
But thinking about loneliness seldom does, oddly.
I remember last year,
when we were sitting around the table for Eastern with the family.
He said: “Where do they come from, ey?” - the seasons he meant.
And nobody responded to this, not even me.

Where I’m from,
winter generally just means a lot of rain.
And from where I am writing to you,
the rain’s residue on the window hinders my view of the garden and the tree
- when the sun is out, at least.
When the sun is gone,
so is the residue and the garden
and what’s left is a reflection of me
peering into what is now
at the same time behind and in front of me.

Did you know that pure water,
water that is really very pure doesn’t freeze at zero degrees?
It can go 20 degrees below freezing point and still be water and not freeze.
The molecules do slow down,
but to actually freeze, a nucleator is what they need.
A spec of dust, a mineral, a snowflake, a seed.
The molecules then mimic the shape of that particle,
allowing them to hook into each other finally and turn to ice.
And the surprising fact is: that this would not happen gradually,
but with a snap,
Of course, this kind of pure water can only exist after distillation
in a scientifically controlled environment,
or let’s say, in a poem or a story.
About horses frozen mid-flight in a lake overnight.

On that lake, the weather will turn around
and as it turns away
and the shapes of winter fade
defrost will bring fresh beauty, saplings and decay.

Someone once told me,
we are all ice wanting to be water.
Wanting to move freely.
To be a flood no cold can hold.
I’m not sure if he was right.

(Text by Tineke De Meyer)

Also appears as a track on The House Was Alright, here
A collaboration with Duncan Speakman