Poetry

Poetry

Ice Dams

It isn’t the cold that causes ice dams
nor the warmth for that matter.
It isn’t even the snow piling up on the roof.

When the first days of bitter cold come,
we hunker down.
We can outlast the cold.

We worry about the snow piling up on the roof.
Will the structure support the weight?
We read about barns collapsing.

Then, the warmth comes.
The snow and ice melts off portions of the driveway.
We talk about how balmy it feels
even though it is barely above freezing.

On the roof, the snowmelt heads to the gutters.
Some of it becomes beautiful icicles.
Some of it freezes on the edge of the roof.

It isn’t the cold that causes ice dams
nor the warmth for that matter.
It is that back and forth across the freezing line
as snow melts, pools up, and freezes again
causing unseen damage.

Yet that same back and forth
between freezing and thawing
is what makes the sap flow
into giant networks of tubing
that have replaced the old sap buckets.

Soon the sugar houses will be boiling sap
bringing additional sweetness
to the end of a long cold bitter winter
as we repair the damage from ice dams.

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Persistence

The first days are the easiest,
it doesn’t matter the task.
There is the flush of excitement,
the hopes, the uncertainty.

Will I be able to complete the task?
Will I encounter something new?

Yet as the days progress, the routine sets in.
Will today be like yesterday?
Will I have enough energy?

I push myself to get out and walk,
to pick up paper and write.

The obligatory references to Sisyphus arise,
as do the self-doubts.

I try to convince myself that the slog
is making some sort of a difference,
even though I can see it.

Hopes vanish and all that is left is the discipline,
perhaps with a residua of dreams.

Doubts increase, with a recognition that it
wasn’t the best effort.

But there is always tomorrow.

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Persistence

The first days are the easiest,
it doesn’t matter the task.
There is the flush of excitement,
the hopes, the uncertainty.

Will I be able to complete the task?
Will I encounter something new?

Yet as the days progress, the routine sets in.
Will today be like yesterday?
Will I have enough energy?

I push myself to get out and walk,
to pick up paper and write.

The obligatory references to Sisyphus arise,
as do the self-doubts.

I try to convince myself that the slog
is making some sort of a difference,
even though I can see it.

Hopes vanish and all that is left is the discipline,
perhaps with a residua of dreams.

Doubts increase, with a recognition that it
wasn’t the best effort.

But there is always tomorrow.

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Nap Time

I remember nap time as a little boy,
lying on my mother’s bed
my mind not ready to sleep.

I would look out through the hallway
across the living room floor
and out through the
living room window.

The glass was uneven
and as I tossed and turned
I would see ripples of the world outside.

Elsewhere in the living room
was the small tea kettle
we used for playing games.
Who would be the first to find
the hidden tea kettle?

There was also the prism
which would turn plain light
into a rainbow
that danced across the floor.

When sleep finally came
It would be filled
with these magical objects.

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Snow

“No two snowflakes are alike,” they say,
but I don’t know who “they” are,
or why they say that.
They certainly haven’t been helping me
shovel my driveway this winter.

Scientists estimate that ten to the twenty-fourth
snowflakes fall each year,
Scientists estimate the earth is
four billion years old.
That’s a lot of snowflakes
and we haven’t even considered
man-made snow yet.

Heraclitus says,
“you can’t step in the same river twice”.
That river may be made
of the spring run off
of billions of melting snowflakes.

So perhaps, no two snowflakes are alike.
They exist at different times
In different places
made of different atoms.

Structurally, a snowflake I shovel off my driveway
might be the same as a snowflake
I sledded over when I was young,
or the snowflake that broke the camel’s back
as another roof collapsed.

The first snowflakes of the season,
met with much joy and excitement,
are now long gone,
though the high banks of dirty snow
pushed aside by snowplows
will last for several more weeks.

So, I’ll pause to wonder at snow falling on cedars
as Robert Frost wonders whose woods he’s in
and a cartoon character wants to build a snowman.

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