Poem for a blizzard

Portland Press Herald photo


by Catherine Schmitt

Snow plows thunder down the street
like mammoths parading
before the new ice sheet.

Clashing tusks,
crash of plow on pavement,
stiff-legged stomp in the early dusk.

What is bone, iron, brick
wears the season
in a shaggy coat of icicles.

Cold, and snow keeps falling
and oil keeps burning
and mammoths marching toward dawn, an icy edge of the sea–

Cold and snow is falling.

How did the last mammoth die?
Did she thrash in the mud of a draining swamp,
the valley echoing her heavy cry;

or venture into the hills, beast
in search of water to slake a thirst,
then vanish between the beeches;

or fall by a chert-tipped arrow
as she leaned into sleep,
receding in silence from stone and snow?

Cold, and snow’s beauty fading
snow falling
and mammoths still rolling by in this, still winter—

Cold, and snow is falling.


Portland Press Herald photo