Tuesday, January 19, 2010

snow diary


day one
The white one has come. It used to be a rare bird, but here it is, in our garden, the second visit in a month. We must adjust to the blank landscapes that fill every window frame. And the silence. The snow is all we talk about, comparing flake size and coverage. It’s all I write about - all day until my paragraphs shrink to bullet points and your bootprints fill with fresh fall.
I know a warm hearted man who believes that snowflakes are made of spite, with a little water and sky thrown into the mix, just to help them to fly.
day two
So much for central heating. She brings a fallen icicle indoors. She places it in a glass and takes photos. Sometime later I look and it’s only millimetres shorter than it was before.
day three
The man with the white car hasn’t left his house in days. Today he emerges, and chips away at the ice and snow with a scraper and a brush. He wears a brown cardigan and works till his hands look undercooked. He runs his engine till the snow on the bonnet has thawed. He clears the headlights, then goes back indoors.
day four
The white tide is lapping at our door. No longer the slim beach of bare concrete. Today, the frozen waves are cresting the double-glazing.
Sparrows kick up small flurries with their feet. Woodpigeons no longer leave neat impression of their footsteps. Instead they are sunk to their feathered undersides and drag themselves along with their grey mood in tow.
day five
I wake and check Tommy’s roof. Eyeing tiles as if they were distant hills. Today they are red. All morning a steady dripping. The new snow melts first, uncovering old footprints. It doesn’t melt so much as fade. Concrete burning its way back through.
She walks the garden path with a jug. Filled with water for the birds. And on her return, with sprigs of rosemary for our dinner.
day six
The neighbour’s over-hang drips steadily. The postman delivers five days of mail with a guilty look. And the redwings come no closer than the far tree.
day seven
She wears different boots today. The marks they leave are proper footprint shapes – the kind you draw or doodle in the margin and can only watch as they snake their way across your blank page.
People have claimed the road as their own. An old man pulling a trolleybag and a young woman pushing a buggy. Walking in the tracks of the cars that went before. Trudging the black lines carved through old snow to tarmac below.
day eight
He said they’d gone, that the worst was over. The fieldfares back to the fields and the redwings on the wing. I dreamed busy dreams. I slept with my left foot sticking out the right side of the duvet. I woke to more snow.
these things fall silently
tears and snowflakes
beautiful and bearable
only in ones and twos


[with thanks to dandelion for the above image]

4 comments:

Gordon Mason said...

What a great way to put a collection of small 'poems' together. Agree about the snow, it 'doesn’t melt so much as fade'.

spacedlaw said...

A great read, as usual. I almost wish we had so much snow (or any snow at all). But not quite.

Crafty Green Poet said...

now that evokes this winter of whiteness beautifully....

dandelion said...

So much here to take in - I picture you as a castaway on a snow island with only the writing of a diary to help you through it. I especially adore 'white tide', 'busy dreams' and 'snowflakes made of spite'...x