Four ages of snow

First, the hush.
The soft cotton-wool drifting
Landing, feet together,
A parachutist behind the lines
At first, a hiss, just faint
On the edge of sound
Then blanket quiet
Hide and seek; under the duvet
Muffled whispers, low breathing
Nothing more

Next the crush.
That swaddling coat
Insulating, hiding, trapping
Winter’s hug; warmth below
Cold above; frigid cold
Like musical statues
Dead still, the White Witch’s curse
That east wind from the Steppe.
And cold sets the snow
Below soles: crunch, crack, creak

The slush; from a world
Of soft edges, smudged details
Comes the hard edge
Of melt; of grime, of grit
Of rubbed-in dirt
Smeared eskers of ice
Trampled by boot and paw, by tyre and tread.
I dream: the crushed ice
Scooped into my Iced Tea
On a far off beach

The gush of melt
Himalaya; Karakoram; Alps
Milk white and blue streams
Suspensions of dust rippling away
Down the edges of highways.
No bright painted bunting here
No mountain sanctuaries
Not here in this Mercian street
Where all joy of Saturnalia has passed
We wait for the Equinox

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