Our Canadian correspondent, David M Reid, sends us a poem accompanied by one of his paintings of snow in Alberta. He has recently completed a collection called ‘Poems from the Pig’s Back’.
Our first Alberta snow.
The sun slips behind the black silhouettes of the Rockies.
Fingers and ears chill with disturbing speed.
Faster than in an Irish winter dusk.
A single oversized snow flake,
the size of a small silver coin,
floats down, lands and melts on Vikki’s nose.
but soon followed
by a multitude of feathery crystals.
In minutes we resemble twin furry snowmen,
so retire indoors to watch in warm comfort,
the snow transform our small world,
into a mysterious land of voluptuous curves.
The pristine snow unblemished, unmarked,
no hard lines, no edges.
A scruffy red nine-bark bush became a mystical Norse creature
clad in a blue white coat.
A cheap plastic urn with dead lilac,
now a furry winter troll.
Each fence post, an upright sentry
crowned with a conical snow hat.
Our ugly dented car morphs into a smooth
Henry Moore sculpture reclining winter nude
in her voluptuous ermine coat.
These winter creatures seem on friendly terms
as little stirs in this silent frozen tableau.
The only moving thing is falling snow
which muffles all traffic sound.
Our silent world stops,
We are inside a child’s Christmas snow globe.
Emeritus Professor of Botany David Mayne Reid from the University of Calgary also sent the following commentary
On reading your magazine I became intrigued by the experiences of Irish emigrating to Australia versus emigrating to Canada. Both huge countries but of rather different climatic environments. I have connections with Australia as I have visited a number of times, immensely enjoying each visit, and have friends scattered around your country (Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Ballarat). In the nineteenth century quite a few of my family emigrated from Ulster mainly to the region NE of Adelaide and we still have copies of some of their letters home. My wife and I emigrated from riot-torn Belfast to oil boom town Calgary in 1968.