Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday's Poetry: "It Was So Cold"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Our first major cold snap of the winter appears to have finally run its course here in the Ozarks, and this morning the ground is muddy where only yesterday it was encased under sparkling patches of ice.  For the past week I have been concerned with getting water to the various fowl who run this farm, and breaking and removing the ice from their watering pans.  It has been very hard work in very cold working conditions.

But now the ice is melting and I feel much better.   Having just returned from several years of living in Phoenix and on Okinawa, this was the most brutal blast of winter weather that I had been exposed to since at least 2006.  And yes, I know that worse weather will follow.

I have chosen a poem for today's selection that was written by Whitman McGowan and describes the streets of Paris during a blast of cold weather in February of 1986.   The poem, "It Was So Cold," reminds me of a Johnny Carson monologue where he would make a statement like "It was so cold . . ." and Ed McMahon would immediately throw out the rejoinder, "How cold was it?"

What follows below is McGowan's bold statement on the weather followed by his own examples of how cold it really was.

I sympathize, brother.  Believe me, I sympathize!

It Was So Cold
by Whitman McGowan
Paris, February 1986
The horses on the carousel refused to budge.
Notes of music froze and
shattered with prismatic finality...
The mimes couldn’t change their expressions.
When a bread truck overturned and
baguettes were suspended in mid-air
pigeons were afraid to leave their roosts for the feast.
Women in expensive fur hats could not retract icy stares.
Rats went skating on rivers of frozen dog piss.
Double busses refused to straighten out
continued running in circles indefinitely.
Terrorist bombs exploded in  s l o w   m o t i o n
allowing everyone to escape harm.
A fountain in the Place Edmond Rostand became
a crystal pineapple inhabited by eskimos.
A Norwegian with a pickax broke off pieces for souvenirs.
Outside Paris waterfalls retreated back into mountains.
God Himself became an irrelevant ice cream vendor
slowly scooping a ball of lemon sherbet
from horizon to painted horizon.

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