On the coming of snow, by Susan Taylor

One day, no, it was one night actually,

it snowed in our village –

no, it’s not a proper village,

just a hamlet on Dartmoor –

no, not on Dartmoor,

technically on the edge of the moor,

with a proper little village chapel

and a proper little village pub –

oh, and a phone box

and a war memorial, of course –

you’ve got to have a war memorial.


This snow we had was Dartmoor snow –

proper stuff, settling properly,

looking convincingly fantastic.

The light was snow light

and snow light is something to see,

clean and pure as best grade moonlight –

ever so white, ever so bright,

but, sort of, even gentler and lighter.


No messing about,

this was snow you could take a shovel too

and move in obligingly proper cubes,

like a giant’s version of cubed sugar.

Sam and Ellie from the barn

at the bottom of our garden,

(it isn’t a barn anymore, it’s a proper house

and our garden’s a proper country garden,

with scruffy cobbled areas,

a perfumery of a rosebush in summer

and comfrey all over the place)

Sam and Ellie had got up very early.

They were young teenagers, at this stage,

replaying Christmas and we heard them,

before the light came in, building a snowman,

excitedly giggling, under the one streetlamp

by the sad little war memorial.



When it was light we looked out

of our little window

to see the result of their handiwork

and there it was –

a five foot tall penis, complete with balls

and a riot of twigs pushed in

around the scrotum,

which added the perfect touch of knowledge

and intimacy to their masterpiece.


I thought of Rome and of Pompei

and our honeymooning, appropriately, there.

Thanks to Sam and Ellie,

it all came flooding back – our wayward nights

among those mosaics of outrageous cocks.

We looked at them (it was allowed back then)

and we saw how a man weighed his equipment

on marketplace scales, to measure his manhood,

to do it justice. And, as if this wasn’t enough,

he commissioned, as door guardian,

a beautiful giant hard-on.


They didn’t need red Ferraris back then, or

drunken fisherman’s tell-tale stretched out arms –

these Roman lads, they had their talents.

Wouldn’t it be kind of awesome

to have such a monument, ornament,

sacred prick outside your house –

a good deal more show-stopping

than a garden gnome pissing.


Nobody in our village took down

Sam and Ellie’s potent, enormous confection –

they knew it was temporary, after all.

Frank took a picture and put it up on the web

under local news. It was the biggest thing

that had happened in Scoriton for a long time,

and it lasted a satisfyingly long time,

being checked and rechecked

on how well it stood up,

until it was inevitably spent.



Being mindful, I was put in mind

of the road junction at Dartington,

and the huge phallus once daubed

on the tarmac there,

This one, also, given enough hairs

to make a pair of balls convincing.


The good people of Dartington,

unlike the ancient populace of Athens,

for instance, who were well known

for their love of Priapus and his genitalia,

exercised their democratic right

and complained to the local council,

just as moorland ramblers would do here,

I guess, if we swapped our stone pixy

on the mounting block outside our door

for a much larger erection.
Susan Taylor lives on Dartmoor and loves the enigma of rural living. Her latest poetry collection is Temporal Bones from Oversteps Books. A new work, The Weather House, written with poet Simon Williams, appears shortly from Indigo Dreams. Watch out for The Weather House poetry show next year! See .susantaylor.co.uk




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