Monday, August 18, 2008

the way of snowflakes

a tale that concludes:
"no two snowflakes are alike."
why so? to begin ...



many's the winter
of shivering trees and the
snowman in the sky.

so distant a home
that echoes never reach there
before turning back.

it is there that he
christens winter proper by
dancing 'round the snow.

for when a snowman
dances, he shakes loose the snow
he's always wrapped in.

from that dancing 'round
come flecks and flakes, each the same:
perfect little dots.

(you might have heard that
no two snowflakes are alike.
that is true ... in time ...)

and not just any
dance. it takes a special dance
to send down a snow.

a slow and graceful
pirouette is all he needs
for a light dusting.

or to bring on a
good flurry, a handsome waltz
sets him a-striding.

and when he has to
get moving on a blizzard,
then it's rhumba time!

rhumba here and a
rhumba there, look out below
on a rhumba day!

and all the while he
dum-de-dums, quietly, the
only song he knows:

"it's not for me to
light all the stars, or to set
the moon in motion.

"i'd much rather turn
the lowlands white, whenever
i get the snowtion.

"no, it's not for me
to stir the seas, or bundle
the winds for blowing.

"it's only for me
to dance about, whenever
the world needs snowing."


then one day he fell.
and could not rise, and did not
know to call for help.

he'd been stirring up
some flurries before taking
his rest for the night.

but he missed a step
and toppled over a

or something like that.
the sky shook. the snow came hard
and then came no more.

it was the waltz that
turned into the halting waltz.
it was the last snow.

for the next winter
passed with no flecks at all, and
certainly no flakes.

the next winter, too,
and the winters twenty more
were silent and bare.

and the people would
gather and look up and wish
and go home and sigh.

it came to be called
the time that the snowman fell
and the snow did not.


there then came a wind
that snatched up the many sighs
and sent them soaring.

like a lost balloon
they drifted off ... to the home
of the up-yonders.

who were all sleeping.
it's what they did all winter.
every winter.

know this about the
up-yonders, for you never
see them anywhere:

what goes in the air
is put there -- save for the snow --
by this little flock.

like the rain: fatsplats,
hissingmist, and each one of
the drops in between.

and like the rainbow:
stretched and curved, soaked in colors,
lowered into place.

just for fun, they would
dabble in dew, or form the
occasional fog.

they work in springtime,
summertime, autumntime, too,
before it gets cold.

but no fluffy snow
from them; they sleep all winter
every winter.


but not this winter.
not with all those sighs making
it too sad to sleep.

the head up-yonder --
who's a head above the rest --
was the first to wake.

he nudged the others
and they hurried straightaway
to see all the sounds.

they pressed their noses
to the windows on the floor.
(how else to look down?)

"will you look at that,"
said one. "i wonder what brings
the sighs here today."

then they saw something
they had never ever seen:
no snow in winter.

"will you look at that,"
said one. "i wonder what made
the snow go away."

the head up-yonder
and another few or so
went looking for why.

they searched the clouds, took
apart the twilight, even
asked the equator.

then they came upon
him, singing in a whisper,
moving not at all.

"i can't seem to dance,"
said the snowman. "where has the
snow been all the while?"

"nowhere," said the head
up-yonder. "there is no snow."
"oh," said the snowman.

"but there must be dance."
the head up-yonder frowned, then
sent for the others.

they gathered around,
across and alongside as
well, then set to work.

"push!" "easy!" "hold!" "now!"
using all the little might
that they could muster.

when the snowman was
upright at last, he blinked once,
then began to sway.

and, looked at each
upturned face, spun a slow and
graceful pirouette.


just as slowly, a
lone up-yonder in the
back began to clap.

in turn, they all joined
with him, and the clouds themselves
shuddered with the sound.

the snowman kept up
his pirouetting, the sky
swirling up in white.

as the snow darted
and scattered, it came to rest
on cold little hands.

a lone up-yonder
shook it loose and saw a flake
much unlike the rest.

he shook again and
again, with each tiny flake
much unlike the rest.

the snowman said, "aaahhh ...
why don't you stay the winter?"
the up-yonders did.


and thus it is: the
snowman in the sky dances
and sings quite brightly.

while the up-yonders
gather the flakes and shape them
one by one by one.

when fashioned just so,
they are sent floating away
by cold little hands.


it is written that
no two snowflakes are alike.
and now you know why.

(author's note: yes, this is made up entirely of haiku-like stanzas, 5-7-5 as syllables go)

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