It’s winter in New England, and a classic winter it is too, with hard cold nights and frosty mornings shading into crisp bright blue crystalline days. This morning it was minus 8.6 degrees, yesterday morning minus 7 degrees, and frost shines everywhere. The poem below poem is inspired by those frosty mornings, and by the experience of New England children who live out of town and have to catch the bus to school. (The school bus stop is just down the road from our place.) I wrote the poem four years ago on commission from the New England Conservatorium of Music, who wanted three poems about children’s experiences of New England to set to music for the tenth anniversary of the major choral event, New England Sings. It was fantastic to hear it as a song–and then two years later, in 2016, I had the honour of having it chosen as the centrepiece for the inaugural New England Illustration Prize, which was won by the wonderful local artist Simone Hale(it’s her interpretation of her poem you can see above).
Frosty School Morning
by Sophie Masson
Walking to the bus stop on a frosty morning,
Crackles of grass like toffee crunches.
Kangaroo joey hops with her mother,
Maybe it’s a school day for them too.
Waiting for the bus on an icy morning,
Blowing in my hands to keep them warm,
Here come my friends, running late as usual,
Kookaburra laughs to see them go.
Riding on the bus on a winter morning,
Bumping along on the road to town.
Sitting with my friends on the slippery seats,
We write our names in the mist on the glass.