Samuel Webster

December 31, 2014 Poem: All Those Words Posted In: Writing

Dec 2014 - Tuscany

Somewhere between the thawing of your toes
and the loosening of frozen ankles,
you begin to wonder just what devilish creature
set the poor Eskimo that impossible task:
waiting in the cold for each and every type of snow,
examining and naming them, one by one,
for the good of the ongoing Inuit lexicon.

It must have been like trying to write an entire body of work
based solely upon the smile lines of emperor Nero,
days barely accompanied by the continuing thought that
maybe it’s not just cold but indeed icy cold,
that your appendages are at risk of giving up the ghost
in exchange for just a little warmth in the afterlife.

At what hour of the northern winter
do the letters start to jumble themselves dyslexically
into fresh, looseleaf latticework?

What madness is brought to life by wondering
whether this unique snowflake is truly unique,
or already covered by the 635th word’s linguistic “snowiness.”

And just as there was some infernal reason
to sit and wait amongst a dictionaryload of snow

(perhaps punishment
for the forgetfulness of wood unchopped
or, more suitably, a curse word muttered
at the communal winter dinner table)

there must have been a reason to end:

The last freckle on a cold and sexless marble muse
whose word means a kind of empty snow,
a final snow before the summertime.
A new word which sends him inside, to warmth,
with nothing to show for his time but poetry.

Listen to me read the poem here: 

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