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Shovelling Snow with Buddha

27. 04. 2023




Shovelling Snow with Buddha


I’ve always liked the title

but the rest keeps disappointing:

I can see Buddha raising his eyebrow

and grinning to let me off the hook.


The problem is that it’s too remote

if that’s the word for breaking away,

for breaking up into vanity of words

words like vanity

because vanity is a dead end here

I comment redundantly and reluctantly.


That means I’m a better poet than Billy Collins

and I deserve a seven-figure advance

for my upgrade with a superior title

Shovelling Snow Without Buddha

or just Shovelling Snow

in which I’m shovelling snow without Buddha

or just shovelling snow

or which is compressed into one line

one shovel at a time

but even thats too much for a zen master.


Anyway, I start strong,

undeterred by the vast expanse of snow,

they say it’s a good idea to shovel snow

while its fresh and light.

I like driving the thin blade

deep into the glittering white snow.

My innovation is the word sssplonk:

the sound of snow sliding off metal.


After ten minutes,

I unzip my winter jacket,

appreciating the vast expanse of snow,

after another ten minutes,

I lean on the shovel

down to my infamous red fleece

questioning the purpose of shovelling,

effort, world and everything

it’s too much, it takes too long

but I’m not a pussy,

I’m shovelling on a on

one shovel at a time

I’m shovelling away,

thinking about writing about shovelling

a little sweat, cold cheeks, fresh air,

and then I’m halfway through

and I know I can do it

so I keep on shovelling

one shovel at a time

until it is almost over,

until it is over

and then I go inside

and kill it with this little poem

growing into a monster,

like the tractor that ploughed our remote, unpaved road:

I leaned out of the window

and waved to the driver with a smile

a brotherhood of snow between us.


Of course, I broke the spell along the way,

unable to keep the powder flow

but I can’t skip the line

where powder covers and rounds the ground

(pillows is the word!)

and makes everything smooth

and fluffy like the intended tone of this poem

polished into oblivion

with a deadline looming in the distance.




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(Utvrdila jsem se v myšlence, že pro příští sezónu potřebuji uspořádat privátní výbor prací s předmětnou motivikou plus iniciovat vznik kusu o odkrajování utuženého skupenství.) 

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