Coping with February in verse

It's the last day of February, and we're all plenty sick of winter. Our contributor Kirby Olson, who teaches literature at Suny Delhi, sat down with a group of Andes residents last week at the Andes Round Table to express their feelings for February in poetry, drawing inspiration from poet William Carlos Williams.

In an email to the Watershed Post, Kirby explained how he turned the group's thoughts on February into verse:

"I had them come up with lists of things they saw around here that they didn't think were worthy of poetry. I had crowd-sourced a list of about two hundred things when we were done. This morning I spun it into a poem. If we're going to suffer in February in the Catskills, we might as well do it en masse!"

Here's the poetic result:


Trail in the snow to a disintegrating trailer

Dying apple trees near the red barns

A harsh winter day with white outs

Some think it’s time to move on


There’s salt on the roads

A defective toilet flushing constantly

Old Scotch tape stuck on the window

Some think it’s time to move on


I wear a mix of gloves to shovel snow

Then deal with more dirty dishes

I still don’t know what to do w/ last year’s Xmas cards

The snow plow goes by, is it time to move on?


Shoes I never wear pile up, I never fix the uneven picture

The shadow of a tree on muddy snow

Everywhere there are empty houses (snowbirds)

I’m chilled to the bone, it’s time to move on


A moosehead over the fireplace I listen to the fish-tank filter

A rusty pitchfork stands in the mudroom near a dusty encyclopedia

Potholes in the roads, scuffmarks on cherry floors

Tell me about it. It’s time to move on.


The TV clicker in hand I scan the 7 o’clock news

The same complaining whining voices

I look out the corner of my eye at the unopened tax dept. notice

On the screen dead Libyans, the twisted face of the dictator


Spring’s coming & with it the dandelions & compost bucket

Dustballs, hornets’ nests, unknown scat

Let’s see each other soon, how about them Yankees?

What’s not to like? It’s almost Spring.

(With input from Josh Bobley, Sharon Ruetenik, Jack McShane, Laura Battelani, Ria Aron, and several others From Andes RT session, February 23, 2011.)

Photo of slush by Flickr user Sugar Pond.