13 June 2011

Tuesday Poem: 256 Words For Snow, by Mary Cresswell

I’m inclined to tow the line, you opined, dismantling
            the spyglass and putting it into the icebox we
            kept for that season.

I stormed out.

This was not what I had in mind as, armed only with
            a memory stick, I considered possible forays
            into the outside world. The blizzard clattered
            frozen water and blazed around the windows.

Exercising demons is not one of my skills, but I
            excepted this. Perhaps the hexagonal flakes
            will cease their incessant fall upon the
            coruscating rink.

Perhaps none of this is true.

I put my ear to the wall of the cabin and ascertained
            that what I heard was sound. The shape is
            troped in the shaven ice, you cried, and we
            will all be quashed.

Nonsense, I snapped, cutting your fine Italian
            hand off at the wrist and tossing it across
            the estuary. We must swing through the
            slush fund, take what we can, and proceed
            according to precedent. There is no other way.

The ship rocked, as if in answer.

You began to nibble my ear lobe, and I leaped
            back. Outside outside, I cried and cried. You
            collected the tears as they rattled down like
            crystal beads into the bilges. We dragged up a
            try-pot and commenced fire.

A full moon shone as the storm moved north-
            northwest, seeking a kinder sunset. As we
            sank our starveling selves into the pleasures of
            the boil, I elucidated the stars: The Dog and
            the Bear. The Dipper. The Dongle, the Bilge

We dined on fried snow and were glad.

Credit note: "256 Words For Snow" is published in Mary Cresswell's new collection Trace Fossils.

Tim says: After I interviewed Mary about her new book recently, I've had the pleasure of reading it - in fact, I just finished it tonight, and I enjoyed it very much. There are a lot of tremendous poems in there, but this one really popped out for me. Of all the many things I like about it, the thing I like about it most is that it mentions memory sticks and dongles - but then, I'm known to be easily amused.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week's other poems are linked from the right-hand column.


Janis said...

Fantastic poem. I love 'Trace Fossils'.

Kathleen Jones said...

I really like all the play with words - it's such fun!

Mike Crowl said...

I have to ask, is 'exercising demons' a typo, or is it intended?

Anonymous Author said...

Enjoyable rhyme and rhythm and flow.
I also have to ask, is it supposed to be 'toe the line' or is that too a play on words?
(My demons are exercised on a dreadmill).

Mary Cresswell said...

'Exercising' and 'toe' are intended. When in doubt, choose the weird explanation... I love the 'dreadmill'!!

Tim Jones said...

Thanks for your comments, Janis, Kathleen, Mike and Anonymous Author (my theory: "Anonymous Author" has the same initials as "Automobile Association", and you are therefore Jeremy Clarkson) - and for your response, Mary.