Columbia Forum
George Stade on the value of horror fiction
Phillip Lopate '64, coming of age as a moviegoer at Columbia
The "small, quiet worlds" of watercolorist Donald Holden '51
"Lost and Frozen" by Jeffrey Harrison '80
Charles Van Doren revisits Morningside Heights

"Lost and Frozen"

In April, Jeffrey Harrison '80 was named one of only seven John Simon Guggenheim Fellows in poetry. Harrison, who is currently the Roger Murray Writer-in-Residence at the Phillips Andover Academy, has already published two volumes of poetry. His Guggenheim Fellowship will support his work on a third. In this poem, first published in Southwest Review, Harrison offers a wistful ode...

To an Old Friend

The alumni office
has you classified
as "lost and frozen"

You had already grown
a little cold,
as I recall,

before you disappeared
years ago --
but frozen?

It makes me think of you
as a lump in some
remote snowfield,

cryogenically preserved
exactly as you were
when I knew you.

I see myself now
climbing the glacier
and digging you out

with a pick-axe,
then hauling you
by sled

back to our dorm room
where, late at night,
we huddled

over Rimbaud
or Keats, an ember
passed between us.

"Nothing new
from nowhere
spirals blue"

began one of our
as if we knew

nothing would come
of our desire
to breed visions

from thin air
and words. Just as
nothing will come

of my attempt
to bring you back
to life: you've changed

in ways I can't know,
your age, like mine,
doubled. I knew that,

of course, when I called
the alumni office,
before their phrase

sent me off
in another direction.
I wanted simply

to see you again.
I wanted to say
I have good memories

and am sorry
if I was the cause
of any that are not.

I wanted to make you
remember those days,
how we made

that room glow.
I wanted
to thaw you out.