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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Country Snowplow

I cannot imagine how difficult it was for Al and Eurithe to live those first few desperate winters at the A-frame. Snowbound, chopping ice to get lake water, reading in the light of oil lamps, heat!!

And back in the '50's we had real winter. Elemental....And lots of snow.
Nevertheless it was with mixed emotions that Al greeted the arrival of the snowplow...the 'scarifer' as our dad called it (as a kid I always thought he was saying' scare-fire'.) My dad who remembered when each farmer was responsible for clearing the section of road in front of his property.

Comes lumbering around the stalled
Quaternary glaciers to deliver his ancient
                                   thundering manifesto
modified to suit the times-
roaming the bedclothes of earth-..."

Al goes on (I think) to reveal the domestic scene, a wife who expects someone (?) to shovel her out .
She wondering "is he up to this?"
He wondering "am I up to this?"

                                      " To rescue 
the perishing
                     married woman expecting
 strength from snowshovel husband
he knowing and searching the shapes of self
to seize the disparate ghost that strength is..."

And this was important dialogue, for in those days, we had real winter.
little brother and me at the farm

Lines from 'Country Snowplow', The Cariboo Horses (1965)

1 comment:

  1. "Rescue the perishing/married woman" – clearly Al had some old (Methodist, probably) hymnody in the back of his mind when he wrote those lines. "Rescue the perishing/Care for the dying/Jesus is merciful/Jesus will save," the old gospel hymn goes. But was Al ready to go out into the freezing cold and shovel to save Eurithe?