Where St Paul and St Mary Meet in Winter

I am fifty-four miles from Plymouth –
A/38 then A/380 –
and yes that’s thirty more than on the I-94
but words are as the crow glides,
less in output than the $2-$3 for gas
as predicted
online.

My Mississippi was always a spelling of vowels
unlike those who live there along its side,
winter’s snow of 6-9 inches another set of numbers
not shared – today’s Siberian Arctic draft
less threatening than a
Thunder Bay
attack,

or is it up from Omaha where I was born
when it would be $30-$60 for fuel
unless driven on its drift?
Here in Ottery, Coleridge’s secret ministry of
cold is perhaps one thing the same as St Paul’s,
like Fitzgerald writing about winter there
in his dreams.

How we both have carnivals – ours to presage
barrels and their bright flames, the name of
Guy Fawkes historically ablaze, like the
light and flight of Moon Glow, King Boreas and
Vulcan Victory, how we both parade by
nomenclature and
mythology.

‘The coldest metropolitan area in continental USA’
compared with our winter average of 8 °C [though,
apparently, we have Thunder Days, not
recorded]. We’ve no designated winter wardrobe:
no snowboots, ear warmers, mitten keepers for the
children. Marijuana is also illegal here, whatever
the weather.

I’d buy a block of ice from the Palace
but would it travel? Imagine your winter flown to
our St Mary, vanishing as a form but still
shaped in memory; imagine fellow travellers
telling their tales of the ice was here, the ice was
there, the ice was all around until it
disappeared.

We turn a corner together and see it is beautiful,
despite the labyrinth of miles and time. We have had
snow this year, though not here, and as the sun
meandered across the clear blue sky today it was hot.
Saints endure in all winters: we share and
are tzadik, wali, rishi, guru
and arthat.

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