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My Last Poem about Snow I shan't write again about the snow telling of icicles and drifts. I won't again write of how my mother put me out in my pram in the deep snows of '47, the only time, she said, I would sleep. No more will my pen reveal the secrets of the snowmen my brothers built by the railway line and how the heads melted when the steam-trains came. I will not tell again of that December in the 60s when I walked out of Glasgow in a snow-storm; a promised lift to Annan at 5am broken, I thumbed my way South. In those pre-motorway days the route lay through the slush-strewn streets of towns - Hamilton, Lockerbie, Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal, Settle, Skipton, Ilkley, Otley, Wetherby, Pontefract - the snow reflecting the civic pride of each as festive lights brightened the grey day. Not again shall I write about snow nor again tell of the return from Liverpool - when going up Rushup Edge in my old Anglia I skidded, ending up at 45 degrees with a dry stone wall an inch away. It was dark before the grit-wagon came. They were only going as far as Edale but towed me out and I returned to overnight at the Kings Arms in Chapel-en-le-Frith. The next day I dug out the car and joined the convoy of lorries shuffling slowly over Peak Forest toward Chesterfield. I will not write again about snow nor tell of the winter of '74 when the world drowned in white, when the weathermen talked of temperatures rising towards freezing. I will not tell of the weeks when travel virtually ceased and the drifts blocked even the entrance to the cemetery. I will not write again about snow. Snow is not chaste, unsunn'd as Shakespeare would have us think. Snow is not forgetful. Snow is not a white-wool blanket Snow is not ice-cream topping for a mountain cone. It does not melt like a retreating army but swells streams and floods drains. Snow is simply cold crystals of ice that fall from a cloud-thick sky. Eskimos have twenty-seven different words but there is only one snow and I shall not write of it again. Until the winters of yesteryear return - les neiges d'antan de Villon -, until the icebergs no longer drift South, until the earth's warming ceases I shall not write again of snow.
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