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
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.