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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

 

 

 

When we were nine, we’d build

elaborate cities of snow

in the fifteen minutes before

the wail of the recess bell.

 

The boys would outwait us,

and as soon as we’d run

toward the school, they’d

knock our snow realm to the ground.

 

What is it in us that loves

to create? To build worlds?

To imagine a life taking shape?

And what is it, equally human, that

 

thrills in seeing it all fall down?

This morning, without me

lifting a finger, the world

remade itself in snow—

 

everything softer now,

smoothed and linked,

a unified kingdom of sparkle,

crystal and shine.

 

And once again, I am nine,

the winter grand. And once again, I long

to protect it, this beautiful world,

want to give it my imagination, my hands.

 

 

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It is the child of cold and warmth.

It is right it should show up

both cloudy and clear,

this union of opposites,

shaped like a spear, piercing

the silence with dripping, dripping.

It forms itself

the same way it disappears.

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One Not Arriving

 

dripping icicle—

made by the same warmth

that will destroy it

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scraping snow

off the car windshield—

so, too, these frozen thoughts

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The snow was light and the moon was near full,

and the shovels skated across the drive.

 

The rest of the world was asleep

except for the shoveler and her shovels and the moon.

 

The snow was light and her thoughts were quiet,

quiet like leafless cottonwood trees

 

with branches that tangled with the forward moon.

There are nights when though we are alone

 

we are not alone,

nights when the darkness doesn’t seem so dark,

 

nights when our work feels not like work

and we step out of our homes, then out of ourselves,

 

and we are somehow unsurprised

by the way everything shines.

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One Friendship

—for Kyra

 

walking the icy hill

every step a triumph—

and us,

crazy enough

to walk it together

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Reading seed catalogs

on an eight degree morning,

how improbable they look,

those royal chantenay carrots,

those pink seashell cosmos,

those bright sugar snap peas,

so greenly dangling.

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Believe me, the bon bons are even better

than they look from the audience.

Mother Ginger has made them

with something far sweeter

than Belgian chocolate,

sweeter than old fashioned caramel.

 

And the snowflakes that fall

at the end of Act One,

they are the best kind of snow—

the kind that never melts

and never make you cold,

the kind that glitter and shimmer and shine.

 

Believe me, it’s hard to leave.

 

Before the final curtain’s drawn,

I wave goodbye and smile,

and the golden sleigh

carries me off stage right

as the Nutcracker Prince

waves goodbye and the Sugar

Plum Fairy blows me a kiss.

 

Believe me, it never gets better than this.

 

Every time I wake the next morning,

I look at myself in the mirror and notice

the diamond tiara is gone,

my white gown hangs rumpled,

a lily left out of water too long.

 

Don’t cry, I tell myself. Don’t cry,

though the tears start

to sting in my eyes. Don’t cry.

I tell myself, soon enough

my parents throw the big party again

and Fritz will wail on that blasted trumpet

and Drosselmeyer will bring me

my slender prince, disguised

as a nutcracker, and I will travel

through the strangest dream,

the most wonderful dream,

though I swear it is real.

For over a hundred twenty-five years,

it’s happened so many times

how could I not believe it?

 

And though I have always

managed to kill the king of the mice

just before he stabs my prince,

every time I fear this will be the time

I will miss with my shoe and

I’ll lose my prince forever.

And every time they push my sleigh

off stage, I pray it will stop

before it reaches the curtains,

pray that this will be the time

I get to stay. This will be the time

I wake to see the prince’s face,

and he’ll beam as he waves his hand

toward the window where the snow

is falling, catching the light,

and the symphony plays on,

a lilting waltz that spirals through

the applause, through dawn.

 

 

 

 

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Concentric

 

 

 

See, I want to say to my son. See

how the pond has frozen in thick,

 

continuous curves. See all the lines,

how they ring each other, like dozens

 

of tiny orbits. I want to show him

the marvel of it all, but he is too old

 

now for marvels, or perhaps too young,

the precise age where beauty is boring.

 

And so I take the child of myself to the pond

and show her the rings. I resist the urge

 

to explain how the meltwater formed them,

how surface-tension forces make liquid melt

 

cling against the lower parts of the ice.

Instead, I let her gaze at the miracle,

 

trace the concentric bands with her fingers.

How curious the rings are, like frozen halos

 

that fit enormous angels. How astonishing

in their design. Just wait till I show her

 

we can walk on it, too. I let her amazement

become my own, our feet slipping

 

across the smooth surface, our breath

rising in white ephemeral curls.

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they said snow—

in the yard, drifts of gray juncos

and heaps of all that isn’t

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