Amos in the Snow

Jan 10, 2020

Today’s poem is “Amos in the Snow” by Pam Burr Smith, who lives in Brunswick and works as a mental health therapist. She is the author of two books of poetry, Heaven Jumping Woman (Moon Pie Press, 2011) and Near Stars (Blackberry Books 2019). Her poems are in the anthologies Take Heart and Port City Poems.

She writes, “One day, I checked on my golden retriever, who had been out back in a blizzard. At first, I didn’t see him, but there was a large patch of slightly gray snow, coming out of a swirling bank. I realized it was my dog, Amos, lying flat and still, his head buried in a snowbank. He looked blissful, as though he had somehow joined the snow. My poem describes this moment.”

Amos in the Snow 
by Pam Burr Smith

He has been snowed on for at least
an hour and a slow geological process
is taking place on his willing back.

It is mid-morning, a meaningless detail
in full deep thorough snow time
the known, the defining, erased.

And we are beyond sound entirely blanketed in hush.
The soft dense texture of slush on Amos’ back
slightly grayer than the snow 
speaks his almost motionless drift

as snow plates form with each slight movement
of his heated back,
his nose furrowed deep in growing swale. 

Winter could not get more profound
nor the snow more intent. 
Its agendas and claims are total now.
It owns this land, it holds our mortgages.

But the dog knows the snow
in an intimate way, 
how it smells of the stars and clouds it came from
burying the earth with fragrant news of the universe. 

And the dog is a great and gentle astronaut
at home among the galaxies
in his own back yard.

Poem copyright ©2019 Pam Burr Smith.