Stranger Snow

Essentially it is error
To try to understand
Even simple things
About the snow.

Is it male or female?
Does it have a home?
Can it catch cold?
When was it born?

I can’t respect the man
Who dares enough to ask
Questions such as these
And awaits an answer.


In unrelenting swirls and roars the snow surrounds the naked night
And crawls its way between the trees and dares the laden boughs to break.

With venomous and passionate hate the powdered death intrudes on me,
Reviles the thoughts I fain would speak and prods the air to swallow me.

The hill I climb groans underfoot and crunches off behind my tread,
The echoes of my steps sing forth the sacred hymnal of the dead.

New England Snowtime

Snows pocked with footprints that wantonly wander,
Nights lost in the shivers with nostrils close-frozen,
Glarings from granules that presage sun-setting,
Fireplaces fervent with memory of summer.
Memory now fled with the russets of triumphs
Gone from the field with trumpets outblaring,
Leaving the leaves as the legions left dying –
Strewn after battle and covered with shroud-cloth.

This is the snowtime, the coldtime of winter,
This is the age of the frost-fractured dawn,
This is the hour of ultimate dying,
The eon of losing, the neap-tide now gone.

Boughs capped with patches that heavily linger,
Ice baked in fingers with glass convolutions,
Gaunt silhouettes race in fright from the presence
Of winter, of blizzard, of frostbite, of fear,
Fear now outreaching with dark claws of wanting,
Invading the field with drums drum-a-drumming,
Enraging the earth as the armies of Ajax –
Smote during the battle – then covered with shroud-cloth.

This is the snowtime, the coldtime of winter,
The age of the frigid, the moment when dawning
Is lost, like a whisper, at once and forever,
And spawns in its wake a Springtime reborn.


The street where I live is dull and sullen.
There is an eternal night about its sidewalk,
Echoing from its drawn, frayed curtains.
In the summer it smells strongly of decay.
In the fall of decline, in the winter of despair,
And even in the Spring of some obscene awakening—
Not a poetic birth—more a clandestine abortion.

The city where I live is my street writ large,
In endless, unimaginative, ill-conceived regularity,
The aesthetics of boredom recorded on parchment of stone.
And my city’s people tread the cat-infested alleys,
Pick their way through the fly-infected garbage cans, trudge the circuitous paths from nowhere to nowhere –
Not a poetic life – more a clandestine retreat.

Last night the first snow fell in white innocence,
A hesitant flutter at first, a confident crusade in the end,
A righteous torrent, misplaced and yet welcomed, revered by me.
Its protective arms embraced the rotting hulk
And traced childish patterns in the nooks and crannies,
Never fearing where it flew, nor into whose window –
If not a poetic birth, at least a poetic promise.

This morning I walked the street on which I live.
The soot had stolen the liquid sheen.
Unnamed steps in the night had defiled the unborn dawn.
Even the snow was decaying: The blood of the city
Had melted the will of the virgin to slush by its heat.
Sin shone through the ruptured cover –
Not a poetic death – more a death of poetics.