Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Snow and ice

2008 is looking a heck of a lot like 2007: it's snowing. They're calling for 15 more cms.

As I no longer play shinny and don't live anywhere near a pond or field, and as Jan 1st has become a day to play an outdoor hockey "classic" in Canada (or Buffalo, close enough), here is my contribution to the national festivities.


The pond polished and framed in piled snowbanks
Like a cherished family photograph;
The carved interlocking geometry
Of memory and youth frozen in ice.
Your first skates are forgotten, but never
The aroma of leather damp and worn,
The numbness of bare earlobes winter-chilled,
Forefoot pinched by lace, heavy thighs
Like hunks of meat packed into stiff wet cords,
Wobbly ankles taped straight, the bent stick, knobbed,
Propping you up slipshod like a scarecrow,
The game makes fools of us, a joke of gods.
Having witnessed the split-second glovehand
Save, you know full well how spells are cast,
Spectacular, oracular, it appears time itself
has been mastered by the net-minder,
Masked kabbalist, anonymous ritualist,
Stoic and precise, whose gestures utter
Secret names, conjure the possible from the improbable.
And drawn out in lines, curves, flights, telemetries,
You glimpse the fluid blueprints of nature,
Shielded by the games seamless design,
Tribalism, brutality, impulse: The puck
A capricious lover, is ever in motion, careening,
Cavorting, refusing to be possessed, disloyal
And always the center of attention
As the jilted players, men hot with appetite
A wild jealous bunch scrimmage,
While the child watches from the sidelines, wanting
Only one thing, to be good enough
to be counted in.

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