Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Snow Poem

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Snow Poem

Article excerpt

in memory of A. R. Ammons

Today the sky's breath

condensed and fell, paniculate,

a dazzling asthma attack we were trapped inside of

till everything was asphyxiated,

yards, roads, woods,

sound itself

Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?

Here, today

Jesuses everywhere, everybody

walking on the water

that is (for now) moist snow,

bodies of water leaving footprints in water

Rolled-up primitive idols

guard most yards,

a progressive diminishment of spheres

on top of and inside spheres

(head, brain, cell-flake, bright idea)

The viburnum (snowball) bush is afflicted

by fat wet snowballs,

the holly by tiers of dense white nests:

no mere dusting this,

no glorified frost

No delivery for days,

no catalogs, magazines, bulk-rate junk, bills

drifting to fill the cold gray vault,

not even the least flurry of first-class personal,

our friendly femailman

stayed from her appointed rounds

My big son on a little sled

slices out of sight down a steep icy hill

A little me on my father's back on a big sled

sliced down the long hill

that was our street, Locust Court, Arden,

winter of 1960, both of us

home together during the day for once:

runners waxed, we were flexible flyers

sailing inches above the frozen crash-hungry earth

forty years ago this winter

Though your cheeks be as scarlet,

death shall wash them white as snow

Maybe the cemetery dead feel the blizzard

descend and muffle all,

the ground above them brighten heavily

then heavily lighten, heavenly light,

heavenly day

Où sont, ubi est? …

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