Snow, sun and men of snow.


After two days of steady snowfalls, the sun has come out.

This morning I was woken up by the chirping of brown, little birds playing on the snow-covered pergola in our courtyard.

There is beauty everywhere. There is beauty in spite of everything.

You only have to keep reminding it to yourself.

In spite of everything.

Agha Shahid Ali, a Kashmiri poet and one of my favourite writers, has written about snow – and snowmen.

Srinagar, like Kabul, is covered in snow today.

From Kashmir to Kabul, his voice resonates.


My ancestor, a man
of Himalayan snow,
came to Kashmir from Samarkand,
carrying a bag
of whale bones:
heirlooms from sea funerals.
His skeleton
carved from glaciers, his breath
he froze women in his embrace.
His wife thawed into stony water,
her old age a clear


This heirloom,
his skeleton under my skin, passed
from son to grandson,
generations of snowmen on my back.
They tap every year on my window,
their voices hushed to ice.


No, they won’t let me out of winter,
and I’ve promised myself,
even if I’m the last snowman,
that I’ll ride into spring
on their melting shoulders.




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