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Three Verses for the Snow Hill

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IT was the sort of January for which New England is famous. Heavy snows had closed down the schools, not once, but twice in one week. On the next clear day, the snowplows arrived early to clear the paths and the teachers' parking lot. They packed all the snow into a great hill beside the playground fence, 20 feet high at its peak. That morning the principal handed down a rule to the teachers who passed it on to their students.

Can you guess what it was? ``Don't climb on the snow hill! It's too tall and dangerous!'' Exactly - how did you know? What do you suppose the chances are that this kept the young kids away from the snow mountain? Correct again - no chance whatsoever.

My studio at this school was at the back of the building, looking down on the playground. I wrote this poem as a portrait of the snow hill, showing it at three different times of the day: early morning, when the students should all be in class; midday; at recess; and late, after school had let out for the day.

I read this poem at my closing school assembly. Judging from the laughter, the students liked this one best. They mobbed around me when it was over, asking: ``Was it true?'' and ``Which teacher climbed the hill?'' Of course, I wouldn't say a word.

The truth of the poem can be discovered inside each reader. If a poem is supposed to stretch your imagination, an ``answer'' would stop imagination dead in its tracks. But I was pleased to see my kids examining all their teachers carefully, realizing that inside every adult there is a well-preserved 10-year-old as well.


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