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Snow Analysis

Author: poem of David Berman Type: poem Views: 11

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Walking through a field with my little brother Seth

I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.

For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels

had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.

He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.

Then we were on the roof of the lake.

The ice looked like a photograph of water.

Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.

I didn't know where I was going with this.

They were on his property, I said.

When it's snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.

Today I traded hellos with my neighbor.

Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.

A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.

We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.

But why were they on his property, he asked.


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I believe the poem is about conflict. Perhaps it is as specific as Israel and Palestine, but that I cannot tell.
Seth is the brother of Cain and Abel and the biblical father of all mankind. If the little brother is Seth, then the narrator is Cain or Abel.
The narrator refers to war references in the following: \"a \'troop\' of angels\", \"shot and dissolved...\", and the most obvious \"a room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.\"
Since Seth is the father of all people, then the people fighting must be his children, making the questions he asks come from a very different perspective with that in mind. Ultimately, why are his children fighting over property? That is, why do people fight at all?
I find it interesting that the older brother appears to have a good, if mostly silent relationship with his neighbor (i.e. another country). Perhaps the narrator is suggesting that is the way countries should behave.

| Posted on 2011-01-28 | by a guest

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