The Snow Fairy
by Claude McKay
Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
And they, frail things had taken panic flight
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.
I went to bed and rose at early dawn
To see them huddled together in a heap,
Each merged into the other upon the lawn,
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.
The sun shone brightly on them half the day,
By night they stealthily had stol’n away.
We have had not one but two significant snow storms this week. We have surpassed the monthly average total for snow fall in Minneapolis and here it is only barely the end of the first week of February. Unfortunately prior to the snows fell a sheet of ice such that everything was coated with treachery, driving reduced to a crawl until the salt could work and walking even more of a nuisance. It didn’t deter my enjoyment of the snow. I am one of those people who want a healthy taste of winter, so that we know what its like to be cold. We need to touch our lizard brains with a reminder to be grateful when the sun warms us upon a rock next summer.
Claude McKay is making a reappearance on Fourteenlines. McKay is one of my favorite poets, along with Langston Hughes of the Harlem Renaissance. I like this poem as it shows that McKay’s writing was also a poetic voice aboout beauty in our world.
It has not been a good week for the Democratic party in terms of leading by example. We have the top three elected state wide officials in the Commmonwealth of Virginia all either admiting to or being accused of actions that if confirmed, should lead to their resignations. A reminder that no one political party has a monopoly on stupidity. I don’t have to wonder what McKay and Hughes would have written about our current state of politics, for as rocky as things are currently in the state of our union, things are not nearly as bad, nor is the putrification of racism any more virulent than it was a hundred years ago. Both writers were consistent in their unvarnished depiction of the impact of racism on diminishing all of society from its potential. But neither poet allowed racism to poison their hearts, they saw its adherants wounded by stupidity and worthy of pity as well as being loathsome for their beliefs. McKay did not hide his bitterness in his writing, nor did he wallow in it either, transcending the darkness of bigotry to also depict the joy of being alive on a winters day, with the hope of spring not far ahead.
Here’s part II of The Snow Fairy.
And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you
Who came to me upon a winter’s night,
When snow-sprites round my attic window flew,
Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light.
My heart was like the weather when you came,
The wanton winds were blowing loud and long;
But you, with joy and passion all aflame,
You danced and sang a lilting summer song.
I made room for you in my little bed,
Took covers from the closet fresh and warm,
A downful pillow for your scented head,
And lay down with you resting in my arm.
You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day,
The lonely actor of a dreamy play.