Poems: Elizabeth Rimmer
Image: Birgit Whitmore
On the choked river shelves and reefs of ice
cling to the worn contours of mud-banks,
or fall and splash into the stream. On sunny roads
the tarmac rises cracked through slush and grit.
A bead of melt-water slips like a mouse
through the glittering air-space on the roof
between slate and the draining lumps of ice crust,
like stranded jellyfish, humped and glassy.
At Walden Thoreau watched the pond’s thick pelt
carved up with axes, stripped and harvested,
stacked between boards and straw to freshen
dreams of June’s mint julep and iced tea.
I love the way he noticed air in ice
flow in drifts of trapped bubbles and thick cells,
the changing levels of water and the spring-time
blooms and swells of sand in the warm currents.
Earth must be less static than it seems.
It draws us. Bonded where we live like sheep,
hefted to the hill by observation,
we make our homes here and are made by them.
The Last Snow
A stealth of snowfall
dizzying into the dark, leaves
a boa on the boundary wall
of swans’ down and diamonds.
Its weight makes white lava fields
of lawn and yard, with sink-holes
where bird breasts and cats’ feet
have warmed through to the stone.
Wind sweeps and scours it
leaving slopes naked,
fills hollows and hedge-banks
with cauldrons of ice.
Frost shines and hardens it
to a ruffle of bony lace,
bleeding whiteness in the sun,
transparent, crumbling, gone.