A Version of Snow

In the morning--a stunning whiteness....


Unprepared for cotton rain, you awake to find

it has insidiously flaked down all night.

Mr. Robert's prognosis (exclusive for Channel 3)

you grossly underestimated:  now, testily

wiping a window, you survey the encroachment.

Overnight, the ledge is thickly bearded and aged;

underneath, two doorsteps lie choked, in bad shape.

Having no mittens, hat, or insulated footwear,

naturally you feel cornered, somewhat upset.


A few days later, comically swaddled like the rest,

you snort down the glassy sidewalk, still unimpressed.

Near McDonald's, trying to excuse yourself

past a couple prolonging a casual embrace,

you topple:  the ice casually introduces itself.

Passers-by trudge on, involved in their frosty breaths

as usual, dutifully minding their own business.

Now and then, some reluctantly ageing dames,

(who cannot distinguish Brazil from Bangladesh,)

incredulously gesticulate, red mouths upon white faces--

that is correct, you wearily acquiesce, never,

except in pictures, have you seen anything like snow.

The following rapture, real or feigned, is all theirs.

That season, you spatter no snowballs at friends;

you don't eagerly learn to ski or skate;

nor do you build grinning snowmen,

left nude or dressed well.


Finally, on a frozen, brittle day at O'Hare,

the menacing wind swoops in from the great lake:

in agitation, pale noses drip, turn scarlet,

hooded stragglers, bent double, shiver their regrets.

In the warm belly of the departing aeroplane,

watching the frost on the wing lose colour, and melt,

you speculate on their ice here, your sun there:

naturally inclement, severe but just nonetheless

quite unlike inequities man made.

Back to Selected Poems from The Used Book

  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape