In the midst of this deep freeze, something called me from bed at five in the morning. Minus thirteen degrees outside, and the furance runs without pause. Why am I not still bundled in bed with a pillow over my head? Because of the poem that won't leave me alone?
It's the snow, it's the snow, deep and blowing and more
and the road is not there nor the drive nor the fields
nor silo with its rounded white globe.
The birds have all fled to the wood and the cows
bury their noses in sweet fragrant hay.
The bull dreams of grass and the sun on his back
and the chickens fluff their feathers, heat lamps under their wings.
It came quietly in the night, like pirates boarding a ship,
blanketed the Queen Anne's Lace gone to seed in a ditch
then bestowed billows of white on the evergreen boughs
and laid down ruffles of lace up to their waist.
The car lies like a behemoth under a quilt
and the bird feeders are frozen and covered with snow.
So still, so still.
But then the wind stirred on a rotational pull
and with hackles raised, set off in pursuit.
It rallied the snow, which must be put in its place,
must be molded and banked and taught to behave
and now white is the sky and the roof of the barn
and the house and the field where wheat once grew tall.
A little brown sparrow lands on my sill,
she lands in a candle nestled in snow.
Soft and brown at my window, right there at my window,
this little winged creature quivers and shakes,
under stalks of arugula gone to seed in a vase.
Eyes dart to and fro, tis a mean trickery,
these stems bereft of seeds but decked out prettily
in white Christmas lights.
What’s its use asks the sparrow,
so fragile yet hardy of wing and sinew
It has no seed or shelter, it’s nothing to me.
So wise, the sparrow, poised to leave. To leave.
The Christmas tree hauled outside on the porch—
denuded of finery yet beautiful still—
has blown off in the gale,
but its branches are thick
and welcoming still
as on that night in the lot
when we chose it over
She flies into the winter of my spent Christmas tree,
disappears from sight but I know she's in there.
Then joined by a junco who was lost in the wind
a chubby little junco, charcoal blue and lost gray.
then, look! a fat dove skitters onto the porch,
wings flutter and clap and he joins them in there.
All so hardy and knowing and independent of me.
Thank you for reading my long weather poem. I couldn't seem to stop. But one more thing before I go, from Book Riot, this past week comes a list of ten wonderful Kurt Vonnegut quotes. If you've stayed with me thus far, I would leave you with my favorite.
"The America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."