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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CHERRY BLOSSOMS BLOWING IN WEST BLOWING SNOW, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: In all the farewells in all the airports in all the profane dawns
Last Line: Among cherry blossoms blowing in west, blowing in snow, weren’t we something?
Subject(s): Life

The industry of flowers
Is dying young.
My friend Ray, I'm afraid, is gone.
His crook was a shovel,
His flock was water.
Winter his flock was snow,
So Ray built snowfences along the ditches
And shoveled in spring
To make them run.
Ray was a water engineer,
Which means
He filled the reservoir
For the ranchers
On the prairie.

Upwind, downstream,
Almost just in time,
Ray just wanted to help someone
By building a bridge
Across a ditch
Or clearing a neighbor's winter road.
(He even gathered mountain phlox,
Which looks like melting snow,
For a certain widow's windowbox.)
It's hard to be happy
In such a dry country.
Ray filled the reservoir
For the ranches on the prairie,
Where otherwise only weeds would grow.

Up the mountain, early spring,
He shouldered his shovel
Like a single, useless wing.
Under the grass was the last thing he wanted,
Which means he wanted it at last.
All the ditches filled with snow,
The headgates froze.
Moth wings drifted
On windowsills,
And the ants came along in single file.
Each one shouldered a wing
And climbed the window into the sky,
As if to show us humility,
The science of living on.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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