“What Need or Duty” by Susan L. Helwig

Susan L. Helwig


What need or duty makes me
leave our warm bed with you
put on cold 4 a.m. clothes
heat coffee, fill the flask
don more clothes
boots, mitts, muffler, toque
scarcely feel a farewell embrace
stand and watch, shovel ready
as you smash down the lane
catching in drift after drift
backing up and trying again
backing up and trying again
finally clearing the last windrow
turning onto the main road

What makes me cry
offer my thanks
look up to the heavens
and there are all the stars.

from Rattle #35, Summer 2011
Tribute to Canadian Poets


Susan L. Helwig: “To paraphrase Samuel Taylor Coleridge, I try to fashion poetry like snow—the softer it falls, the deeper it sinks into the mind.”

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