'How To Get Rid Of The Layer Of Snow' by Anne Kellas | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two

‘Ah, that layer of snow of which you tell me! For a long
time I too had it! But I turned it into the tablecloth my
wife spread over our – pleasantly round – table in order
to host ... so many incarnations of mud!’
               Paul Celan (in an unsent letter to Rene Char, cited in Selections: Paul Celan,
               ed. Pierre Joris, 2005, p.185).

1. First, you have to get rid of the layer of snow.
Observe it.
Apply your cooling-glasses to it.
The pebble ones, rounded at the edge.
The snow will fall off.
If it doesn’t, see 2.

2. Shoot the snow, scatter it.
With your pellet gun.
The shards will break up and mix with the grey.

3. Poetry’s not allowed to have ‘shards’ in it anymore.
(Ref. Twitter, yesterday.)

4. I know the layer of snow is still there
because I saw it overnight
in its pale dressing-gown.

5. I wanted to say ‘moon’ somewhere.
But the image would not fit with ‘a layer of snow’.

It’s hard to fit things to a two-dimensional

6. When the layer of snow is gone
it will appeal to you.

‘Appeal’. Not pleading.
It will have a face as fresh
as a cloud.

I mean, child.

It will swim.

7. My Operas can’t Swim
(Manfred Jurgensen, via Val Vallis,
Brisbane flood, 1974, cf. Notes, p.79.)

Enough syllables per line/break?

8. As the layer of snow melts,
two things
or one of two things, will happen: your poems will get
shorter. No.
Your poems will get longer.

9. Once you’ve got rid of the layer of snow
you’ll be able to see your lyrical aura.
Then the circle will be complete.

10. You must, they say,
get rid of your lyrical aura.

Then you’ll be safe from the predatory black line
visible now the snow has melted.

Or perhaps,
safe from the predatory line break, visible now.

At least begin each line with a capital letter.

10. Write on the line.
And the thin black words will vanish.

Anne Kellas

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