American Life in Poetry
Thomas R. Moore, a poet from Maine, has written a fine snow-shoveling poem, and this is a good time of year for it. I especially admire the double entendre of “squaring off.”
Removing the Dross
After snowstorms my father
shoveled the driveway where it lay
open to a sweep of wind across
a neighbor’s field, where the snow
drifted half way down to the paved
road, before snow-blowers, before
pick-ups cruised the streets with
THE BOSS lettered on red plows.
He heated the flat shovel
in the woodstove till the blade
steamed, like Vulcan at his furnace
removing the dross, then rubbed
a hissing candle on the steel
so the snow would slide unchecked
as he made each toss. He marked
blocks with the waxed blade, lifted
and tossed, lifted and tossed again,
squaring off against the snow.
Poem copyright 2010 by Thomas R. Moore from “The Bolt-Cutters” (Fort Hemlock Press, 2010), and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.