The Obligatory Snow Poem
The sky is ashen-faced in the aftermath of snow,
and I don't want to go outside today.
Sitting at my desk I am muse-less,
with the silent and the unsilent:
my unknocked door and the window-frame
that clucks like a comely nun
when the water on the panes gets too much.
I have spent the afternoon in 1961,
and out on the quad I think I witness
Adolf Eichmann building a snowman.
The unwritten and the written:
my eight-thousand words,
and a copy of 'On the Road'
that will outlast us both.
The ordinary and the unordinary:
on my way to Tesco, Eichmann
asks me for a light and I soon forget his face.
This time last year I had my muse amputated;
tied the tourniquet with my teeth,
administered the anaesthetic, and went
through the motions like a somnambulist.
I hold the phone to my ear like a grey shell,
wondering if I will hear the sound of his voice
come rushing back like the sea.
Everything is unenduring.
At night I think sleet-thoughts that don't have
enough substance to become something beautiful;
like everything else they get washed away
in the forgiving morning rain.