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Sandy Lyne


The Snowstorm

Caught, in the jammed winds
between road and treeline,
above the trimmed fields
of apartments and snow,
there’s a large power-pole
with heavy wires dragging off
in either direction.
Late last night,
the pole’s transformer blew,
and enormous energy-pools—
almost bodies—
snapped into the night air.
Men came in trucks
and climbed up into the icy,
dangerous winds, talking
into radios, making curses,
but mostly laboring
to get the power back on
and go home.

All over our hillside
candles flared in the windows,
people I knew, and didn’t know
at all, peering out
into the snowy, shearing night.
I could feel the coldness
on the windowpanes, and I
loved these cursing men
for their holy labors.
Behind them, the trees thickened
backward into the bottomless
silence of the woods.
It was lonely. Now and then
a car would slip out in a glide
onto the freezing roadway,
its signal flickering— as if anguished—
losing gallons of red light.
For a moment, the power would return
and I’d see the silhouettes
of people holding candles,
then the greenish near-face
of the power-pool would snap
down again on the jangling wires,
and the blackness rush back.

In the morning, power again.
Light bales of new snow
slipped down through the pine boughs
in the morning sun. The transformer
looked perfectly harmless again,
perfectly useless, in fact.
And yet something
had changed. This poem
of strange innocence
had pushed its way
through the jammed wires of my brain,
through the high box of my heart,
till a new face of me
broke out in the winter sun.
“Hello,” called a boy.
“Hey, mister, push us!” cried another,
his sled in his arms.

A big, black Labrador dog
tore up the snow, tunneling
and tossing, lost at times
in an ash of diamonds.
The deep woods hummed a tune.

And I went off to push two boys
I hardly knew
on the long and icy hill.
All of it, all of it,
it would never again
be the same.


© The Estate of Sandford Lyne



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