Wow, What A White Magic! - Poem by AtreyaSarma Uppaluri
The temperature dipped far below the freezing point
And the howling snow
Began to toss about
In flakes, granules, and pellets.
They acted as the visible indicators
Of the drift of an erratic cold wind.
Looked like fluffs of cotton,
Like spray of confetti,
Like an army of locusts,
Like streaks of lighting,
Like feathery missiles, -
Each competing with the rest in speed.
At the amazing sight, my heart began to race
And my eyes were filled with incredible wonder.
The snowfall gained momentum further and further.
The splash of snow on grass beds -
A wild explosion of white efflorescence!
First time in my life to watch
Such a massive snowy spectacle
Through the street-side glass window
I couldn’t resist the beauty, the icy profusion.
I raced down the flights of steps,
Ran out into the open without winter wear
And pranced and danced around,
In glee and with a blithe abandon
Though it was shivering and freezing.
Oh the cold thrill, what a sweet chill!
When I came back in frisson,
My son and wife hailed a funny monster,
“Hi, snowman! Why so early? ”
The entire ground, roads and lawns appeared
As if washed over by tankers and ships of milk.
Or as if covered with a huge white fabric
That could circle the globe nine times over.
Or was the entire vanilla ice cream in the world
Transported and spilled over here?
Or was it a wavy river in spate
Suddenly frozen in its course?
Or was it a billowing milky ocean
Frozen in a cataclysm
And turned into an endless snowy beach?
Or was it a mass of thick heavy clouds
Rested and frozen on the ground?
A densely overcast sky above
And the snow-crusted ground below
Turned together into a cosmic igloo!
The patches of snow
Stuck onto the trunks and branches
Of denuded trees –
Were they kisses passionately planted?
The snow canopied pines
And the snow streaked buildings all around
Looked as if they prised themselves out
Tearing up through the inside of a strange all-white planet.
The ambience looked as if
All the white things in the world
Had been shipped in and dumped here -
Was it a harbinger of an impending endless ice age?
What an exuberance of images!
What a snowy splendour!
What a white magic!
There was no sign of abatement. Far from it!
The snowfall visited with a vengeance:
A blizzard swept across the Nebraskan plains and the city of Lincoln,
Not sparing most of the vast tracts of the entire country.
The hoary deluge came on the eighth of December -
One of the heaviest in recent years.
It lashed the land with chilly winds,
Gusting at twenty-five to over fifty miles an hour
With the frost formation rising well over a foot.
If you didn’t go out to visit the snow,
It would fly on to your window sills
And rest there with a nonchalance
To greet you every time you looked out down.
It presented thrills to the lucky who stayed home,
And a trail of disarray and damage to the rest.
Cars looked bizarre with thick blankets of snow draping them.
Drivers had a harrowing and quivering time to rake away the snow
And every driver had to be at his slowest best
To tackle the worst frost and the bleariest of visions.
Road medians, kerbs and sidewalks bleached to a level,
With vehicles refusing to move through the ice packs.
Cars got stuck in the snowy rut,
Wheels violently spun and spun
But refused to move an inch forward.
Tugging cords, snow-blowers
Surfaced in the snowy desolation,
With drivers and good Samaritans
Trying their best for extrication.
Raking, shovelling, ploughing -
Everything was pressed into service,
In time to ease the alabaster sweep
On countless streets and roads.
The snow-thick roads trundled over by vehicles
Left wide and deep trails so sculpted up, as if
Wrought by the hooped wheels of charioting armies.
Sidewalks ploughed through, moulded up into walls
On either side as of thick rocky slabs of white marble.
The thick crusts and drifts of snow
Massed up everywhere into high irregular mounds
Looked like a miniature range of the Himalayas.
Finally it was a snow day, a no-school day, a sudden holiday
For kids – small and big - on December Eighth, and Ninth
To the pearly gaiety of children, scholars, and teachers.
A delightful rest from daily drives,
A welcome break from street side junk food.
Everyone cooped up in their homes
Munching the crunches,
Feasting on homemade entrée and delicacies
Downing all of it with generous bouts of drinks
Watching long forgotten golden oldies
Or listening to the rock or country
In a dreamy and soulful oblivion
Enwrapped in cosy comforters.
There was a bare and lonely witness all through
That had no wink or blink or rest -
The grand State Capitol in its stunned stony silence.
[Dec 13,2009: : Lincoln, NE, USA]
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