by Charles Troob

After a heavy snowfall, I look out
At the cityscape, newly picturesque:
Leafless trees delicately traced in white
Like skeletons posing on a runway;
Streets and walkways, reupholstered, empty
Of traffic, savoring a brief pristine
Moment out of time, before the filth,
The ice, the slush, before the sand and the salt;

And then I think of myself, surrounded
By love and books and comfort, drowsily
Whiling away a quiet afternoon—
And my mind flashes on men shivering
Under flattened cartons and old blankets
Burning paper in oil drums to keep warm.

Shortly after I joined the IRP years ago I signed up for a poetry study group given by Sarah White.  The first class was cancelled because of a snowstorm.   Sarah had sent us sonnets to read and suggested we try to write one.  I sat at my desk, thought “why not?” and looked out the window.  I brought this poem to class the following week, and people had helpful suggestions to improve it.