Tuesday poem: The research scientist discovers snow

December 17, 2013

The research scientist discovers snow

The first time she saw snow
she thought it must be a film,
perhaps that old Christmas flick shown
in forty degree December heat
— that’s celsius, she’d explain
to bemused Americans,
wearing bright badges
of innocent face —
year after turkey-stuffed
mince-pie jammed year,
as they lay on the sweating couch
too whale-like to go to the beach,
full of cold-climate food, rendered
into puddings themselves,
leaking custard from pores.
Somehow the grainy surface
of that dreadful sentimental
drifting narrative had been
projected onto the sky,
and she ran outside to greet it,
overwhelmed and underwearing.
It was another language, this snow,
as weird as a marsupial to old Europe’s
bemoused science. It was harder
than she thought it would be,
not cloud-thrown confetti
settling in pillows, but
much blunter than sand to her splayed feet.
It is not a reversed beach
at all, snow. It is not a soft bunny blanket,
or a white towel to lie on.
She felt it for the first time, this dinted
elemental heaviness, as if water had collided
with steel, a sky highway pile-up,
and felt her heart melt, for the sea throb,
and the sharp sprint to water
when sand cuts like glass, too hot for flesh,
and light spears eyes with shards of clarity.
She was suddenly blue, as she stood in snow,
shivering, clamouring for that biggest island,
crouching, sunning itself, languorous;
the world’s big browning bottom.
Her first white Christmas, and surely,
she swore, nervous bikini clutching
chickening skin, her last.

P.S. Cottier

This one was included in my first collection, The Glass Violin. I didn’t see snow myself until I was quite old, and remember reading about an Australian studying in the United States who gave herself mild hypothermia from running around in the snow without sufficient clothing.

Cool.

I was reminded of this poem by the snow on my blog, the snow in Christmas cards, and generally everywhere. Meanwhile, the Australians are beating the English in Perth in 40 degree celsius heat. The visitors are melting like oddly clumsy snow. It’s a game of ashes and snow.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year, and particularly to those brave souls who have commented.

May peace and love be part of your life in 2014.

From an early age, his abilities in slip were manifest...

From an early age, his abilities in slip were manifest…

I can’t resist the combination of Christmas and cricket…

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Tuesday Poem

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