Little Brother has gone off to school today with his sledge in tow, very chirpy about the early dump of snow we have had in the UK. As I expressed concern about the drive over steep, rural roads to get him there, his touchingly confident, “Don’t worry, Dad can handle it,” just showed the gulf between his vision of the wintery landscape and mine. So I am particularly drawn this morning to Marilyn Singer’s “Ice” from her book of poems Footprints on the Roof: Poems about the Earth (Alfred Knopf, 2002):
[...] Out on the street
Dad windmilled like a slapstick dancer
Mom crept like a mincing crab
We tried to tell them
ice respects no one
If you can’t lick it
But they didn’t want to hear
Then we looped our scarves across our faces
so they couldn’t see us laugh
and slid across the sidewalk
like the earth was one big rink
Yes, that about hits the nail on the head. I love the allusion to the scarves as well. They use them to stifle their giggles, whereas I am fussing to make sure they’re wrapped up warmly enough.
In the book, the poem is simply and effectively illustrated by Meilo So. Her blend of solid delineation and soft, calligraphic brush strokes throughout the book help to bring the poems alive. A definite favorite in our household is the volcano poem “Dormant Dragons” and its accompanying illustration. Having been introduced to Marilyn Singer’s work through Poetry Friday (thank you, fellow bloggers!), I have been collecting some of her books, and it was Meilo So’s cover art that immediately drew me to this particular poetry book and the rest of the series it belongs to. You can read more about that, including what Marilyn Singer herself says about it, as well as some more poems, in a recent post by Tricia over at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Marilyn also has the poem “Burrows” on her website. You can read a 2003 interview with Meilo here, and see some of her art in our Gallery Feature here and on her blog. And since Meilo lives in the Shetland Isles, I’m sure she can empathise with my choice of poem today, too!