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Snow


Snow has sentimentalized the world,
           left it sugar-coated, a baked Alaska
conjured from the palest of vanilla ice creams,
           the purest of swan's egg whites,
its mushy, too-sweet-to-be-wholesome look
           topped with a confection of candied trees—
bare-branched candelabras—holly waxing
           eloquent with berries in a citric winter dusk.

In denial about whatever smacks of negativity,
           it stops death in its tracks, adopts a hard
line on burials, sets up road blocks, brings runways
           to a standstill, placing travel plans on ice,
permitting no escape from its airbrushed vision,
           plotting to frustrate communications
networks, keep bad news in abeyance, seal
           the mouth of every outlet, stifle all dissent.

Its powder washes whiter than any rival's,
           even the field-blanching moon's,
obliterates earth's lumpy surfaces, smoothes
           its awkward bumps, insists simplicity is truth.
Too good to last, too huge a con-job
           to sustain, too false a facade
to maintain beyond one season, snow's
           hour of reckoning comes, its defences

crumble like a pomegranate meringue
           gateau, churning mucky sludge,
a filthy vinegar of meltwater under which
           the world it wished away can be defrosted,
dust itself off, when spring's no-nonsense air
           prevails: its new twig broom will sweep
all vestiges of slush before it, letting life resume
           its complex, messy, necessary routines.


Dennis O'Driscoll

The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review

Winter 2011


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