This afternoon the careless spring went cold
An an Irish hour on the poet’s death,
A golden squall became a silver breath
As hail’s distemper set a halo
Upon the reader’s intent and inclined soul.
Once my puzzled toddler asked me
“When did they invent the world in color,
and wasn’t black and white sad then and duller?”
So it was, (and Poland, to this day we see
In grainy increments of silver, iodine and tea.)
The snowstorm bears his observation out,
The black treetops, thrashing, beg for
Kinder dreams, they rock and tear their hair or
Pull vast pearling clouds to carry down,
A sigh, and snow stoops swiftly like the hungry owl --
Softly, softly, gentle, professional as night.
It’s no coincidence to drop Spring’s call in
A place where flakes or ashes are the only tint,
Moonstone glow of snow and evening light --
A February, snaring, merciless Lenten plight.
For this storm in all its miserable grace
Has added cold white frosting to
Smooth the naked layers as they cool
On my fiftieth vanilla layer cake,
And set a placid counterpane on my unquiet race.
Lying under the down coverlet I found
Twenty-seven emerging lines, rivulets, thin
Etchings on fading damp-marked skin.
I hate and fear them, snaking bitter down
And hate the vanity, my own evil circling round.
Now the shimmering snow-born reflections
(to disappoint the bulbs again,
As one Irish playwright did explain,
Speaking of our final resurrections)
Comforts by erasing all my childish imperfections,
And seals the wet earth in a chemical bath,
(For water pools on the periodic table.)
Snow makes moonlight the darkroom in the fable
And brings the glimmering shroud of old Anath
To wind a million crystals on the desert path.
If black and white erases nature’s flaws
And makes it easier to impale the flight
Of swans and shadows moving toward the light,
Then perhaps the snowfall comes because
It takes this much magic to give me pause.