Today and Memory

Sometimes I work and work on a poem and it just won’t seem to come right. The process can go on for months or maybe years.

It reminds me of a question I often hear in connection with my artwork: How do I know when a piece is finished? I always say, jokingly but not joking, if you know what I mean, that it’s done when I sell it or it otherwise goes out of my hands, since at that point I can’t get to it to keep working on it.

I wrote this poem today and I decided it would be finished today. It was prompted by yesterday’s snowfall, and I wanted to record the memory and express it while the feeling I have about today is fresh in my mind. And also I wanted the memory of today to contain a poem-writing session as well as what I remember of the snow and the cold and the wind and the beautiful sunny blue sky.

Snowstorm Next Day

The two pairs of socks
extra-generous warm
The cable-knit sweater
wool just the thing
Snow all over everywhere
just got into town
Wrist-thick icicles
lengthen from the eaves
angled by the blustery wind
the one that flings away
the in-a-series glittering drips
sideways out and away
Gone! just as quick as that
Every tree in sight of here
all their branches trunk to twig
crossing and re-crossing
the icy bright blue sky
Dry snow light and sheer
impulsive gusts sweep up a cloud
shake it out like a sheet
toss it up and over the roof
The neighbor’s shovel scrapes the sidewalk
Everything and everyone
restless in the snow and the glare and the cold
And me, my toes
they’re still chilly


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