Kendel Hippolyte Snow
It’s snowing in our land.
The warmth evaporates, the cold settles
on hill and house, on friends we knew, on families.
A fallout from a cold war covers them
and they diminish, disappear into a blizzard.
Snow falls, a blitz of words.
News crackles in the air like frostbite,
a bland subtle obliteration hiding from us
the common ground. .
Till even flesh and blood numb into snowmen,
caricatures formed with the precipitate from TV screens.
The flakes, the white lies, drift, bury the mindscape,
and we shape our effigies
– honkies, terrorists, reactionaries –
then smash them. .
Snow in the tropics.
Lately we pass each other in a gorge,
fearful between its east and west walls.
We do not call out, we whisper, we dare not declare
that despite this, despite the chillblain hardening over our hearts,
we still are
what we have always been:
Man-Woman, looking for fruitful ground again. .
We walk, the flakes fall, wintering the mind,
blurring a dimming memory of garden, shared fruit in warm air.
And we know
by our cold silence, our static fear,
trudging through drift and blur, hoping we’ll find our homes again,
we are becoming snow.
. . .
Kendel Hippolyte was born in Castries, Saint Lucia, in 1952. He has written a half dozen books of poetry, most recently Fault Lines, published by Peepal Tree Press in 2012. Fault Lines was awarded the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in 2013. Hippolyte has twice won the Minvielle and Chastanet Fine Arts Award for Literature, the premier arts award in Saint Lucia, and was awarded the St. Lucia Medal of Merit for his contribution to the arts. He has taught at St.Mary’s College in Vigie, and Sir Arthur Lewis College at the Morne. He co-founded the Lighthouse Theatre Company, where he is actively involved as both a playwright and director. Mr. Hippolyte is married to fellow St-Lucian poet and teacher Jane King.