Copyright is held by the author.

Listen to the author recite the poem: First Snow

Snow covers summer and frantic footprints
have appeared around the silent trees.
Squirrels look for their caches and dogs
sniff the territory and leave their scent
of ownership. From here, I can see the street;
that artificial footpath with small snowbanks
piled along its length and an occasional
pedestrian focused on some destination.

My bones seem less able in this season.
I have no urge to plod along the sidewalk
or leave footprints around the trees.

I remember being a squirrel, poking
every corner for hidden treasure,
dashing along the empty branches,
flying to the next tree, landing skillfully
on those bare winter bones.

I remember being a dog, my brisk pace
to find competitors and let them know
I am in the territory, let them know
I can be a friend or foe, let them know
that even in this winter, I am not asleep.

I remember the sidewalk, its slush
sticking to my boots as I pressed
between the snowbanks, my direction
firmly focused, my legs directed
to some important goal. I remember
the journey as I made new footprints
in fresh winter snow.

  1. I read this poem as a look back to a time when one is younger and fitter, and can enjoy the snow without danger of slipping and sliding to a fall which could seriously incapacitate a person. And I can identify with it fully! I stumbled over a few words when reading it aloud but when listening to the poet reading it I was completely won over. The squirrel and dog idea works very well in conveying meaning. Thank you Mark — from a fellow poet 🙂

  2. Mark, you’ve expressed the linked ideas of aging and winter very well — and without resorting to sentimentality and cliché.

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