All Night Long

All Night Long
by Theodora Goss

All night long the snow falls down,
covering the buildings of the ancient town —
the central square, the benches in the park,
the lamps that remain shining in the dark,
the silent fountain, the abandoned trees
whose leaves have fallen, whose birds have flown.
Slowly, slowly the snow falls down
over the streets of the ancient town,
which resembles a woman in her wedding gown.

The moon shines through its clouds and sees
battered walls and broken electrical towers,
a river once spanned by a fallen bridge
flowing through darkened neighborhoods
between banks as white as an empty page —
while snow covers what lies written beneath
in the frozen churn of boots on mud.
The cathedral looks like a wedding cake.
The snow continues to fall for hours.

An empty page, a linen cloth,
a wedding veil, a moth whose wings
are dusted with icing sugar, like sweets
that children dream of on Christmas eve —
the snow resembles all of these things.
Beneath snow and moonlight, the ancient town
stays awake all night, holding its breath,
waiting. What can it do but wait,
while generals send bombs and the children sleep?

(The image is an illustration for “The Snow Queen” by Edmund Dulac.)

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3 Responses to All Night Long

  1. Jeremy Brett says:

    Thank you, Dora. This is lovely.

  2. Nancy says:

    Boom! Your last line of two dissonant images is like a bombshell in the midst of softness…

  3. Tabatha says:

    I just discovered your poetry from Laura Shovan’s blog and I am really enjoying my visit. “while snow covers what lies written beneath/in the frozen churn of boots on mud.” — so good. I could feel where you were going, but I was holding my breath about getting there.

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