Monday, February 26, 2007

Walking When It Snows

Snow does not walk on sidewalks but it grows
like a quick coral reef, sky skeletons
on skeletons, and crystal shells on shells.

The white reefs form on benches, on the flat
of the curved mailbox, on the balancing beam
of the steel fence enclosing the trimmed park,

even on trees that do not keep their arms
by their sides, even on the tip of tongues
rosebushes stick out at the thought of cold.

Disdaining roofs, their over-furnished rooms,
how can a face look up and not sprout reefs,
but to walk fast, and hope the road is clear?

5 comments:

Rui said...

thanks for this. it's a cold grey drizzly day and this made me smile.

:) rui

Rui said...

waitaminit, is there something wrong with the syntax in the last 2 lines?

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi rui,
thanks for reading. What do you think is wrong with the syntax?

Jee Leong

Rui said...

"how can a face look up and not sprout reefs,
but to walk fast, and hope the road is clear?"


i'm no linguist, but:

1) 'how can' doesn't sound right with 'but to'.

2) the subject of those last 2 lines is 'a face', and at the moment i have problems with a face walking fast, even if it is meant as a figure of speech...

all this, of course, is based on my totally instinctive, 'I can't explain it' gut-feeling grasp of grammar.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi rui,
thanks very much for coming back to this, and explaining your thoughts for me. "But" is used in the sense of "except," and I need to think further whether that is idiomatic usage. "face," as you observe, is a figure of speech, a synecdoche. I actually think the idea of a face walking fast is quite humorous, but that is my sense of humor.

Jee Leong