Snow, look and listen


Night snow, as light as a floating white whale

turning and drifting over the city.

And in the white-sky morning light

heavy as Moby Dick on the spiral steps

of a hundred thousand Montreal walk-ups.

Now, slide down, fall down, shuffle or wade around, bow boughs

of great trees.

Snow falls light as a word, a breath

yet once fallen, what weight, not to be recalled.

Its purity, it’s white weight truth must be managed.

Hear the muffled roar of the plough

manoeuving and struggling to shift

the soft amorphous stuff

now in the grey-sky morning light with

its city-soiled peaks of frozen slush,

little grey Andes built by desperate morning motorists

shovelling, sweating, cursing, even helping each other

to free their cars from the soft cold blanket of snow.

Snow, following the curve of a railing or the links of a fence

or coldly disguising, obliterating the stones in the cemetery

so that I stumbled, waded my way down the wrong row.

The cold stuff of pious prayer slipping into my boot.

And the crash of icicles pulling away from a second storey balcony.

The mailman, his eye on his footing and on the overhang

thinks it is a good day. . . to look . . . at snow.

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