Lola Ridge

(December 12, 1873- May 19, 1941 / Dublin)

Snow Dance For The Dead


Dance, little children ... it is holy twilight . . .
Have you hung paper flowers about the necks of the ikons?
Dance soft . . . but very gaily ... on tip-toes like the snow.

Spread your little pinafores
And courtesy as the snow does . . .
The snow that bends this way and that
In silent salutation.
Do not wait to warm your hands about the fires.
Do not mind the rough licking of the wind.
Dance forth into the shaggy night that shakes itself upon you.

Dance beneath the Kremlin towers—golden
In the royal
Purple of the sky—
But not there where the light is strongest . . .
Bright hair is dazzling in the light.
Dance in the dim violet places
Where the snow throws out a faint lustre
Like the lustre of dead faces . . .
Snow downier than wild-geese feathers . . .
Enough filling for five hundred pillows ...
By the long deep trench of the dead.

Bend, little children,
To the rhythm of the snow
That undulates this way and that
In silver spirals.
Cup your hands like tiny chalices . . .
Let the flakes fill up the rosy
Hollows of your palms
And alight upon your hair,
Like kisses that cling softly
A moment and let go ...
Like many kisses falling altogether . . .
Quick . . . cool kisses.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Edited: Wednesday, February 08, 2012

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