KERRIN P SHARPE

The Alchemy of Snow

Snow is often found
at the Biology bar
in the company of 
potash and potassium.

      *

Her different melting points
make relationships
difficult.

      *

She can be driven.

      *

She has many names:
CyrilTimBunnyPoppy
and so on. They form 
the scaffolding of her
memory.

      *

She is the fortunate
symbol of news from abroad
and appears in teacups.

      *

The Edmonds book (1955)
published her recipes: Coconut
Ice, Vanilla Snow, Snow
Pudding and Melting Moments.

      *

Using the Le Chatelier
Principle, she reverses
herself. There is this fruity smell.

      *

Late at night farmers often 
hear her playing the 
accordion while she treats
psoriasis in their horses.

      *

She is energy favourable.
For the painting A Dutch Funeral
snow slid a simple pine coffin
over frozen fields and under the 
smock mill’s criss-cross sails
and rickety gallery. She 
decorated the black veils 
of mourners and comforted
a small dog.

      *

She is utterly faithful
to the blackbird.

Kerrin P Sharpe is a poet and teacher of creative writing. She completed the Victoria University Original Composition Programme taught by Bill Manhire in 1976. Her poems have appeared in many journals including Hue & CryJAAM, the ListenerPoetry New ZealandSportTakahēTurbine, the London GripSnorkel and the PressBest New Zealand Poems 08, 09 and 10, and in The Best of the Best New Zealand Poems. In 2008 she was awarded the New Zealand Post Creative Writing Teachers’ award from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her debut poetry collection, three days in a wishing well, was published by Victoria University Press in 2012. A selection of her poems will appear in Oxford Poets 2013 from Carcanet Press later this year.

Sharpe comments: ‘This poem began life as a short story based on a friend’s mother but soon crept back to its poetic roots. Now it takes the form of examining snow from a scientific perspective and it also draws on some fragments and ideas I gleamed from my son’s health science course. I felt I had had a chemical reaction myself to snow and I just couldn’t get her off my mind. ’

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