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Saturday 19 January 2013

They don't make snow the way...

The children playing in the snow
are half a world away
from me at the same age.
So generation equals world
and world spins on,
pursues agendas of its own --
to hell with you and me.

The children playing in the snow
have a whole world of points to prove:
the games they play are not the same;
the same games are played differently.
The difference is quite plain --
They plainly are not quite the same
as we were at their age.

The children playing in the snow
have missed the point of it --
the artlessness of snow.
Girls bury tokens in the drifts
whose meanings are not clear to me --
nor yet, I bet, to you --
a sort of Arctic treasure hunt?

Snow games were guiless in my day,
were open to the sky. Had nothing buried,
out of sight -- though one might fall
and turn the snow bright red.
The boys scrape snow from cars to throw
at windows and front doors...
so nothing changes through the years --

except the years have changed for me.
The balls disintegrate in air,
the snow is dry and will not cling,
and one lad in a fury kicks
at sight of anything -- 
except, thank God, the cars.
He stubs his toes against the kerb.

A blizzard once, wind blowing snow
away from me, me chasing it!
I was distraught. Perhaps 
I sensed life's slipstream would
be always whisking stuff away.
But we knew snow (or thought we did):
good snow from bad;

soft snow, ice-free for balling;
icy snow for igloos in the sun --
though then we well might cheat:
with snow chunks hard to find
we'd use some planks of wood.
The world was white and fluid then,
would change beneath the snow.


kaykuala said...

What fun it is to have snow in the backyard. Nice run through of when 'boys were boys' of days gone by. Great write Dave!


Anonymous said...

i'm thinking still of the hiding of the trinkets--it is very different - not just the secret = but the disposability.

And yet so great to be a child at any time. The young do seem very burdened, but they do have youth!

Thanks for the lovely images and reflections. I am looking out at a dry dry snow right now - terrible for snowballs! And thinking of your categories - k .

Brian Miller said...

ha i like this one a couple levels....first we spent all day playing in the snow yesterday...snowball fights and sledding....i miss the huge snows we used to get as a kid that would stick around for a while....we move our children on pretty quick these days into adulthood...

Janine Bollée said...

Fascinatingly captivating, like the very snowflakes falling endless around me.
I know snow, and no snow is good snow now. Sad.Though now not guiless or even 'vanilla sky semi-guyless' and no longer guileless, I appreciate the high degree of craftsmanship that went into this poem.

Mary said...

I really like this poem very much, Dave. Yup, 'life's slipstream would always be whisking stuff away.' So very true, but perhaps not realized until a certain stage of life. And yes, the world'would change beneath the snow.' Oh, how I remember those snowball fights, snow forts, snowmen, snow angels. But today here anyway the climate is different. I can see the brown grass; and 'snow' is negligible. Not like the snowy winters when I was a kid.

Ygraine said...

How wonderfully evocative this is of the falling snow itself...magical, illusive and ever shifting...like looking through the eyes of the inner child!
Timeless and enchanting, this truly enthralled me.
Another masterpiece, Dave :)

Carl said...

Wonderful, wonderful and wonderful. descriptive and beautifully written and yet gives me so much to ponder about time and change set in a great backdrop.

Claudia said...

some games are so very different from ours and some have stayed the same over the centuries.. used to love those games as a kid, unfortunately we don't get that many snow nowadays and the kids nowadays grow up too fast, makes me sad..

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Very evocative. As a snow lover, this poem really spoke to me. Now only if we could get more of it here in my neck of the woods :)

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Stunning lines, with something I would quote in many occasions:
"I sensed life's slipstream would
be always whisking stuff away". Very true.

haricot said...

You created very vivid image and movement on the snow, and the scene makes me recall
some images from far way and from olden days. It makes me sentimental.

Dave King said...

Agreed! Much thanks Hank.

The girls did retrieve their trinkets later - at least, I saw a couple being retrieved, but thatt. too, seemed part of the game.

I often think of the inuit and all the words they have for snow - and for ice as well, I believe. Fascinating subject. I got into it after reading Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow

I have to say I do miss not having kids around to play and fight with in the snow. Many thanks.

Thank you very much for your very kind words. I, in turn, appreciate them. It was a poem that kicked off very slowly and I didn't think would get anywhere, so this is very good and reassuring news.

You are totally right, I think. We do not realise, either how quickly the world can change or how quickly life takes stuff away from us. As a child everything is permanent and we are bullet proof.

Thank you so much. This is an incredibly generous comment. totally appreciated, I do assure you. It is so good to know that you enjoyed it.

Thank you Carl. As always your feedback is reassuring and inspiring.

Yes, so much seems to be stacked against childhood these days, not least the pressures to grow up - and those that sten from the need (sometimes over stressed)to be kept safe, of course.

Optimistic Existentialist
Thank you so much. It seems we think alike on this.

Many thanks for this. (I did leave a comment on your post yesterday, but it doesn't seem to be there. Also your image doesn't open. I tried again today, but couldn't get the comment facility to work )

Anonymous said...

who said English only has a few words for snow - you have created so many images and sensations with this piece. Super stuff... now it's time for me to get that snowman made.

A Cuban In London said...

Ah, that was the scene just outside my house yesterday. Except that I will never have memories of yesteryear like you. I feel jealous, believe me. Many thanks. Wonderful poem.

Greetings from London.