A heavy snow, and men my age
all over the city
are having heart attacks in their driveways,
dropping their nice new shovels
with the ergonomic handles
that finally did them no good.
Gray-headed men who meant no harm,
who abided by the rules and worked hard
for modest rewards, are slipping
softly from their mortgages,
falling out of their marriages.
How gracefully they swoon—
that lovely, old-fashioned word—
from dinner parties, grandkids,
vacations in Florida.
They should have known better
than to shovel snow at their age.
If only they’d heeded
the sensible advice of their wives
and hired a snow-removal service.
But there’s more to life
than merely being sensible. Sometimes
a man must take up his shovel
and head out alone into the snow.
This poem helped me understand men and accept that if my dad insists on living alone in Colorado when he’s old and slips on the ice and is run over by his snowblower, for some reason that I will never comprehend, he needed to do that more than he needed to live another few years.
My apologies to the author as I can’t get the line justification to render correctly. The Writer’s Almanac has the poem with correct spacing.
Note: This is one in a series of poems selected to help those who may have been intimidated by poetry see that it need not be complicated to be beautiful and meaningful. Happy National Poetry Month!