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Old Snow

by James Graham 

Posted: 14 January 2007
Word Count: 97
Summary: Another winter poem. Remember snow?

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Old Snow

Long before light he wakes
and crosses the chill slate floor.

He opens the door to the snow; a little
cataract falls and shatters.

This snow, the same since ages
of the wild ox and mammoth, is the first

deep snow that will inspire him.
He leaps, and cannot see its surface;

with all the levers of his body leaps again.
He touches, sifts and shivers - and now runs

through the moon-pale house to the big bed,
and tumbles into the middle space.

The seed from which he grew
contained the joy of snow.

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Comments by other Members

joanie at 21:58 on 14 January 2007  Report this post
Hello James. I just love that feeling when one wakes up and somehow, I'm not sure how, one just knows that there is a gorgeous covering of snow.... You have conveyed that magic beautifully, without over-stating it.

Shiveringly lovely.


DJC at 07:03 on 15 January 2007  Report this post
James - another simple, yet beautiful piece. I love the two line stanzas - my favourite form. No snow here in Switzerland, really either. Everywhere is so warm this year.

Tina at 06:15 on 20 January 2007  Report this post

Lovely work - another moment in time which could be the first experience of a child or memory of a man of any age - the pure delight; the 'tension' of the moolight house; the warm bed - leaves one tingling!

with thanks

James Graham at 17:21 on 20 January 2007  Report this post
Thanks, Joanie, Darren, Tina. The poem's a curious mixture - opening the door and finding snow so deep I couldn't see over it is a childhood memory of my own, but when I wrote it I was thinking of my grandson, who deserved to have the same experience but never actually did.


Jordan789 at 16:31 on 23 January 2007  Report this post
snow, snow snow. I liked the piece a lot, James. The pace is calm and cool, and it sounds like a recollection because of that. A recollection with a smile. I didn't really get the impression of it depth, although I see it now with "He leaps, and cannot see its surface." But on my own reading, I didn't understand that image. There's a certain dual meaning that comes with it also though.

I really like the line "tumbles into the middle space" because it gives the quality of the bed so much more meaning, and the character too. Because beds don't really have a middle space unless you are small enough to split it into thirds. I sort of would like to hear this "middle space" idea expanded on, instead of ending the poem how it is ended now. The last two lines summarize the poem, and I don't know how you feel about two line summaries but I eh, on reading, I like something to be added instead of restated.

Anyhow, again, very peaceful, happy read. Cool cool.


James Graham at 19:16 on 23 January 2007  Report this post
Thanks, Jordan. I suppose it is a 'peaceful, happy' sort of poem - a sort I wish I could write more often. 'Middle space' - maybe if it's a king-size bed! I seem to recall that my grandson, when he was four years old (he's now 15), could always find that middle space in the very early morning.

I'm not sure the last two lines restate anything that's already clear. OK, maybe they sort of solidify what's implied by him climbing into bed between his parents, plus the idea of snow being the same from time immemorial - but I wouldn't like to leave those things floating. For better or worse, I feel the poem needs to be 'summed up'.


Zettel at 20:16 on 02 February 2007  Report this post


Swoo at 21:14 on 04 February 2007  Report this post
Hi James
nothing more to add to the other comments here - I love this poem, really love it.

But - there's a typo that keeps bugging me -
second to last stanza - reads 'though' and I want it to read 'through', ie 'he touches and now runs...through the moon-pale house'

Beautiful writing, and all the more so with your explanation of your grandson


James Graham at 11:56 on 06 February 2007  Report this post
Eagle eye! Well spotted. This poem isn't new and I don't know how many times I've looked at it and never once noticed that typo. Thanks, and glad you enjoyed the poem.


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