here comes the plough
poem by  
  keith  o'connor
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Here comes the plough is taken from my childhood memories of 1947 recalled from a painting of the same name, same city, by Wilfrid Flood painted  in 1943.  See this site for the Wilfrid Flood Memorial Gallery.
here comes the plough  

year 1947  
winter in Lower-town  
Ottawa Canada  
snow banks 
 piled four feet high 
formed my rocky mountains 
along both sides of our street  
horses pulling red wooden ploughs  
clear sidewalks  
into narrow valleys  
separating my rocky mountains  
on the road from the six foot high  
mountain range on our lawns  
shoveled paths to our doors  
and drive ways  
created lateral valleys  
with high peaks 
on each lawn side   
powerful snow plough trucks  
with giant steel wedge shaped blades  
scrape roads down to the frozen asphalt  
creating the winter flat-lands  
of my childhood  
we sit in our homes  
looking out windows  
watching waiting  
the heavy snow storm  
slows to a halt  
natures silent secret message  
heard only by kids  
calls from the fresh snow covered   
a moving forest of   
hockey stick blades 
many  splintered  
repaired with flattened  
tin from empty soup cans  
held on with tacks and black electrical tape  
flowed from doors 
down valleys  
onto the flat-land  
pieces of shinny black coal  
shaped by imagination  
into the world's greatest   
hockey pucks 
chunks of  black road hardened ice  
take up their goal post positions  
dozens of  kids 
boots but no skates  
divide into teams  
center -  forward and defense  
rule against slashing  
rule against pushing  
rule against tripping  
smash that puck 
straight past the goalie  
play until  
frost bitten toes ears and nose  
compete with ice covered mittens  
suddenly a yell 
"here comes the plough" 
kids scatter up   
the mountains of snow stand  
feet buried   
to their ankles  
in freezing white snow  
watching the rumbling  
banging clanging  
snow plough  
scraping its  way   
towards their street hockey rink  
they are lucky  
the ploughman  
he is nice  
pulls on a chain  
that raises the blade  
 just enough 
to smooth  
their street hockey rink 
then their cheers and waving 
greet the plough driver 
who waves back a greeting 
from his own 
street hockey days 
running  jumping sliding  
back down from the mountains  
to their flat-land rink  
set up the goal posts  
get another lump of coal  
 jump up and down  
trying to warm toes  
face off at  
one -  two -  three  
you don't hear the bed time call  
until dad yells  
one by one  
good by to our friends  
as we each in turn   
walk between 
the mountains 
up the valleys 
in through our doors 
into another childhood memory  

Keith O'Connor  
Aug 1 2001  
Ottawa Canada  


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