February 17, 2003
If you have a warm place to sleep
and enough to eat
tonight is a night for poetry.
It is a night to wander through the neighborhood
and to notice things:
to try to escape the angry buzz
of diesel-blowing snowblowers.
It is a night to see
the homes where the stairs have given up
on being stairs, and have become
ski slopes worthy of champions
or where the stairs are only known as stairs
by the brave railings standing tall by these slopes.
Or the homes where someone
has taken on the battle
of keeping the army-straight lines
of the steps presentable
and the driveway is a driveway
(not a small valley in the hillside)
(at least for now.)
The door lights shine high
in brighter numbers than at other times Ð
why? to welcome the millions and billions
of tiny white visitors who dominate this night --
for who else could be welcomed through this
The titanic snowplow
bulls its way down the scrapey street
pushing human wanderers
to watch and awe
at its power.
not an hour later
where is its power?
Buried beneath the powder?
Is this the secret message our dear mother is sending us?
"Beware the human hubris
for I can bury you in a blink."
And her children
(those without hubris)
the trees with their leaves wisely shed
so their bones remain exposed to the air,
the other creatures
safely buried, sleeping,
until soft green spring air touches their innermost cores.
The night wanderer returns home,
and with a sigh,
pushes back millions of tiny white visitors
with a shovel.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Midlarsky