Poem by Susan Deer Cloud

When It Snows Women Hold Quieter Times in Their Hands

Ice gardenias swirl from sky dark as Lady Day’s hair,
no sound. Snow petals touch to earth, touch
after touch, and isn’t it all so soft
as kiss after kiss?

And nowhere to go, roads un-ploughed.

We talk of this afterwards …
what we women did that day similar to long slow days
of our grandmothers and great grandmothers.

One of us baked bread for the other women in her house.

One of us strung a necklace of glass beads color of her sister’s eyes.

One of us wrote a letter the old way, in green calligraphy, for her man.

One of us dreamed a poem by west window while her cat chased snow.

I was the one who tugged on white buffalo coat and sheepskin boots,
trudged through storm to forge a snow angel with the wings of my arms
flying in the rapture of millions of snow crystals making unique
love to my mouth, cheeks, eyelids, hair.

We women speak of that New England snowfall even now …
as my grandmother used to tell me of the days of sleighs and horses
and flashing bells, and once inside the house the kerosene lamps lit,
hands held near woodstove flames before her father took his fiddle out.

When it snows we women say we wish, we wish,
yearn for the prancing horses, bells, the fiddler’s music,
ancient dance wild and whirling …

when women hold quieter times in their hands.

 

Photograph © 2013 Allison Goldin
Photograph © 2013 Allison Goldin

 

Susan Deer Cloud is a Catskill Mountain Indian. An alumna of Binghamton University and Goddard College, she has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, New York State Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, and an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. Her most recent book is Fox Mountain from FootHills Publishing. Now that she has returned to Snow Country, she has fallen in love with winter again.

Allison Goldin is an artist living in Cambridge. Her work is a collection of spontaneous drawings from the imagination. The most common link throughout her art are the semi-recognizable creatures scattered amongst and bringing together the surrounding doodles. She is currently studying Illustration at The School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

2 Comments

  1. Susan never disappoints. This is such a lovely poem that is an instant gift to those of us who remember the gifts of snow. Such a sparkling thread that leads us into ourselves and simultaneously also into the dreams of other dreaming women.

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