the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




ALISON LENTZ

WORDS FOR SNOW

somewhere long ago I heard that the eskimos have 50 words for snow (or was it 500?)

or one for each snowflake underfoot creaking

clinging to lashes, haloed on needles of frost over branches

spoken by tongue fearing fusion to bare frozen metal

sting on the cheeks, stiffening inhalation of freeze in the nostrils

precise skewers for observation

stockpiling snowballs in an avalanche of meaning

and I want (as I know you do) to believe because it seems so right

this intimate sensate way of knowing  a world that can be entered

with words brought into being by the moment of exquisite characteristics

familiarity with the vicissitudes of snow

language as both a way of sending forth and of holding near

grasping, firm to a mass, propel levered by arm; release at the end by mittened fingers

snow you can pack, track, see where the man ran

oh, had we but world enough and time now to set ourselves free

to fall backward waving arms and legs and make angels


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m.a.g.