Painting, Poetry

Snow

All through the day snow has been falling

like stars out of place or angels or prayers; slivers of universe

with millions of possibilities that if singled out and caught by

a warm hand will pale to a tear

leaving only a memory

 

of a feathered touch or eyelash kiss.

From within we watch the new night sky

filter out its blanket of white

silencing the ground as it mimics

a clean sheets over our bodies.

 

Slowly the wind strengthens and like a wolf

the once silent fall becomes

an orchestra of science as

snow twists past street lights,

spirals over houses and dances past the last

 

bus that now takes a unknown diversion.

Snow defying gravity, soaring,

flailing and falling

onto a frozen landscape

that we watch developing

 

like a photograph;

the paper restless in chemicals,

a world in darkness with only

a muted oxide glow to guide our hands

and the sound of wolves now scratching at the door.

 

The snow shoulders farms

against the moor, fills lanes

once engraved through land,

amplifies the essence of our existence

and brings the last moving traffic to a dead stop.

 

We look down upon the village,

down towards the snow globe centre

where a clear web of lights

that once spiralled out from its core

slowly disappears.

 

Children make their escape to first floor rooms

taking treasured possessions and shelving

photographs, books and computer games

for safe keeping. They watch from relative safety

the commuters clearing driveways

 

throwing salt stone and filling kettles

ready for the bite of a morning unknown.

The snow and the wind continue

and together they conspire

to cover everything, leave nothing undone.

 

In the dawn grey light the children jump

from their bedrooms

and slide into drifts where garden walls

once stood. Without boundaries

the commuters give in and turn over,

 

their driveways scarred but slowly recovering.

At the reservoir skaters erect temporary

fencing and jostle for space

practising the latest toe picks and steps

in time to the click of the make shift

 

chair lift that now runs the length

of the banking much to the water board’s

disliking. An old man argues with a group of

German ski enthusiasts, who, unable to build houses,

are offered the chance

 

to take part in the first Pennine slalom

made of frozen sheep and stone. The snow continues.

And in the village where cars no longer exists

dog walkers turn out en-mass, carrying their plastic purple bags,

but deciding to turn back, much to each dog’s delight,

 

next to where the last bus was abandoned

with its lights still on and windows steamed and the driver

reported missing in the last hour as per company policy. The new school

head clambers over the football pitch regretting the early morning text

but looking at the plus of trying out her new coloured boots, one piece suite

 

and combination head scarf that works as both casual and smart.

The snow continues. Warning signs that have flashed

through the night go out.

The wind howls. Roads disappear,

as does the ground floor of that row of terraced houses

 

nearest to the river now frozen to the shape of claws.

An Australian, visiting relatives for the first time, joins a group

of Finns who have all been prescribed light

and feel short changed. They make out

at a self built sauna hidden out of sight with a discarded barbeque,

 

garden shed and a selection of furs smuggled under clothing.

The Australian’s relatives, in some desperation,

follow snow angels on tree lined paths and join the group

naked in the drifts. The snow continues.

And last to move is the farmer who makes

 

a half hearted attempt to clear the lane

but misjudges the weight of the counterbalance

and upends like a duck, slipping from his seat to become

caught by the Saint Christopher around his neck

now half strangled on the tractor’s gear stick.

 

We give in and watch the snow fall.

We watch the village slowly fade from sight.

Darkness falls again. Villagers make their escape to higher ground,

walking on rooftops, as streets begin to drown.

First to go is the pub, then the bakery and the gallery.

 

Then the post office, convenience store

and charity shop. Gone is the off-licence,

the take-away  and flower market. Also

the doctor’s surgery, news agent,

haberdashery and selection of newly

 

opened cafe bars and restaurants

catering for individual tastes.

Gone is the police station, swimming baths, library

and school. And on the outskirts, where property

 

once made a better investment, the  Social,

Conservative, Liberal and Band clubs are all going under.

And the snow continues with no sign

of it ever petering out. From the hills

we see the distant city glow, the only

 

light in the valley, as the people hunker down

in make shift shelters where we listen to the sound

of our breathing amidst the cries of wolves

that leech out in the cover of snow. And we wait for the thaw,

wait in reverence with cold empty hands.

 

Snow first appeared in my debut pamphlet, Flowers by the Road, published by Templar Poetry in 2017. You can purchase a copy from the Templar Shop

Art, Countryside, Nature, Poetry, Walking

Flowers by the Road

My debut poetry pamphlet, Flowers by the Road (Templar Poetry) is now available to order direct from the on-line book shop at Templar Poetry. Price includes free UK shipping.

The collection was a winning entry in Templar Poetry’s Portfolio Awards 2016.

To order a copy please follow this LINK

Thank you

david_coldwell_cover-crop
Flowers by the Road – 2017