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Friday, 11 November 2011

First Real Snow

Best Christmas present ever: deep, deep snow.
A whiter white than I had ever seen,
but out of reach, beyond the window glass,
and not available to feet and hands.
I'm five years old and full of wonder: how
might it feel against the skin? As fluffy
as it looks? As smooth? And how would I react?

I see the people come and go with it.
I see it piled on shoulders, woolly hats
and scarves. I see deep footprints where they've walked.
Among them are my parents, come to visit.
They come into the ward still dressed in snow.

When they are here, they're everything I want,
but when they're not, I want the snow. Just now
they are at home, and snow falls heavily.
What good a Christmas present that I cannot use?

But now a transformation: nurses come;
they're carrying huge bowls of snow which they
distribute round the ward. Soon they are helping
us to mould snow into cannon balls.
For hours - it seems - we hurl them back and forth,
targeting each other, 'till the ward's awash.

When parents come, the bedclothes are still wet.
Great cries of anguish fill the battle field.
The dead and dying - of pneumonia
and such like wounds - have had recovery
set back by unknown periods of time.
But nurses somehow manage to persuade
them that the fight was therapy for us!

I am entering this poem for the Poets United "Winter" challenge.

28 comments:

jabblog said...

What a wonderfully human and humane thing for the nurses to do. You children must have had such fun. I don't think it would happen today - Health and Safety!!

haricot said...

White cannon balls are attractive enough for fighting, the fight for therapy.

kaykuala said...

An eye opener on what can happen in a disciplined hospital ward. Leaves a lot to imagine what beautiful happenings did occur with the connivance of the nurses even.It was for the better good of giving excitement as a therapy. Very intriguing Dave and excellently done!

Hank

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

Dave,

It was a very different 'view' of snow. Thank you for sharing these great memories. Snow is always fascinating at all ages, for one reason or another. Personally I am right back to viewing it from the safety of indoors!!!

Eileen

Brian Miller said...

that is awesome...snow can be such a refreshing thing...everything all white and pure...i am sure it renewed some patients...

TechnoBabe said...

Absolutely beautiful writing, poignant yet uplifting and so dear. Children in the hospital especially on a holiday can be a tear jerker. You did a great job with this story.

Laurie Kolp said...

Reminds me of the time my daughter... at five-years-old... was in the hospital with pneumonia over Christmas and it snowed (a rare occurence in southeast TX). It was like a hope-filled promise to us.

Rose said...

A very charming write!

Janet said...

Really enjoyed this view-point. A fitting poem for today-Remembrance Day in Canada.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have to repeat my usual words. Another awesome poem, Dave.

Old Ollie said...

nice piece DK - authentic!

Mary said...

Sometimes it is a good thing when rules are broken. This definitely was one such time, and I am sure there are many kids and nurses who would attest to it.

Dick said...

What a rare relaxation of the rigid routines of hospital in those far off days of Matron's iron rule. Very nicely captured, Dave.

ds said...

What clever nurses to bring the snow (and the games) to children who could not experience it for themselves.
Wonderful story, wonderfully told. Thank you.

Mairi said...

A beautiful line - When they're here they're everything I want, but when they're not, I want the snow. It sums up so much of childhood and its longings.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I am regularly expecting and then finding visionary intensity in your poems...that make me, as I have just done, revisit old works of mine.

rch said...

Hi Dave, your storytelling is outstanding as usual, really enjoyed reading this.swayedg

The Weaver of Grass said...

Therapy I am sure it was Dave - what is a bit of snow between friends - especially when you are young.

Haley Brooke said...

A very different perspective on the winter snow I took for granted. Thank you, your poems are always so thoughtful.

Windsmoke. said...

What a cheerful and charming poem. Sadly we don't get snowfalls at Christmas in Oz because its summer time :-).

Cait O'Connor said...

Top marks for originality, I loved this, very descriptive too.

sunny said...

well done Mr Dave,and bst of luck.

Dave King said...

jabblog
It was another world back then. The doctor, when he'd visit me would sit on the side of the bed and swap British Empire stamps with me. Imagine that happening today!

haricot
Sure, but you know how hot hospitals are...

kaykuala
I must post about the water pistols sometime!
Thanks for the comments.

Eileen
And I'm right back there with you! Thanks.

Brian
Yes, I think it did me.

TechnoBabe
Thank you so much for this response. This incident has always meant a lot to me - as do your observations.

Laurie
I can quite understand that. Thanks for it.

Rose
Thank you very much.

Janet
Indeed, I'm glad you thought so.

Rachna
Can't have that said too often! Thanks.

Old Ollie
Many thanks.

Mary
Yes, you are probably right. I hope you are. I have another such memory, which I may inflict upon you all one day! Thanks.

Dick
I have been wondering a lot about where matron fitted in. I can't remember her in connection. I can recall her in the case referred to above. (see my reply to Mary) Thanks for your response.

ds
Yes, I have many very affectionate memories of them.

Mairi
Thanks for that remark. The line represents a very strong memory that I have of the time.

Tommaso
Hope to see something of them anon. Thanks for the kind words.

rch
Hi! Thanks for saying so. Very appreciative.

The Weaver of Grass
Exactly, but my parents - and grandparents - regarded damp as the enemy of my chest - which no doubt it was. But on this occasion no harm was done. And a lot of good, I think.

Haley
Hi, a warm welcome to my blog. Thank you for your comment. It is most valued.

Windsmoke
Shame! Someone ought to do something! Thanks for the comment.

Cait
Hi, good to have you visiting. Thank you for the kind comment.

sunny
Thanks a lot, sunny.

Lolamouse said...

How wonderful! Bless those nurses!

Heaven said...

A different perspective of a snowy day... I like the images of bravery and fun that you conjure.

Thanks for this sharing this~

Your writing is always a pleasure to read ~

The Cello Strings said...

love snow and snow related piece.

very beautiful winter piece.

:)

Ella said...

I liked your version of snow! The pristine, fresh hope and sense of fun. This is the prescription we all should take~ Well Done

Dave King said...

All
Humble apologies for the delayed response - afraid I've been getting a bit behind these days!

Lolamouse
Here, here! Thanks for that.

Heaven
Thanks for the encouraging words.

The Cello Strings
Good to have your visit and the comments.

Ella
Hi Welcome to the blog. Thank you very much for the comment.