The Way You Should by William Bedford


Somebody built a snowman overnight –
youngsters maybe or lovers going home –
and left him on the bridge across the stream,
his arms held wide, his mouth a hazel grin.
I thought he wanted help and talked to him,
the way you do with strangers passing by –
complaints about the weather, the hard frost,
how the birds mistook him for a scarecrow
and kept away. He liked watching the birds,
their busy flight, the ease they had with skies,
the singing they took so much for granted
while he could only stand and look.
He wasn’t there when evening shut the fields.
I wish I’d stayed and talked a little longer,
the way you should with strangers passing by.
But he had time enough for just one morning,
and now he’s gone, and I could wish him back.

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