April Snowfall

I think it’s because it’s snowing—because
all around the house something beautiful is happening
silently, outside every window—that the world
feels graceful, even numinous. That’s why we live here,
I think, where the world can contract to an intimate
stage set, a lacework of branches and snow

and falling flakes, that suggests a temporary beauty
so friendly to us, since we are temporary. It won’t be
here tomorrow, and neither will we, we think,
and so its beauty is more flowerlike, as though the branches
are all laden with white blossoms, a snowfall
that is like a single song, fairly brief, surprising us

into tears. Before we were writing and painting, but now
it’s snowing, and my wife is crying. Startling
how this patient silence shocks us into thinking
of transience. Not just the dead. But the living,
the frost gathering on their hair or beards. My wife
has been singing in her studio. She laughs about it

as she washes her brushes, her eyes reddened
and puffy. Some song her father used to play,
meant only to catch in people’s ears and charm,
has become her prayer. Is she thinking of me,
here for a moment, like the snow? It’s unfair to her
that the world is made to pass away, unlike a painting

made to archival standards. Here she puts the trees,
here the snow, that will not melt. Outside
the birds are silent, dumbstruck by the sudden change.

Alan Feldman’s poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Yale Review, and others. His full-length collection of poems, The Happy Genius (New York: Sun, 1978) won the 1979 Elliston Book Award. A Sail to Great Island (University of Wisconsin Press) was awarded the 2004 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. Another collection, Immortality, published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2015, was awarded the 2016 Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry. His latest collection, which received the Four Lakes Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press, is The Golden Coin (2018). The National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation have awarded him fellowships in poetry. He lives in Framingham, MA and, in the summer, in Wellfleet, MA, and currently offers free, drop-in poetry workshops in those towns. He is married to Nan Hass Feldman, an artist.