Thursday, January 19, 2012

Minus Eight At Twenty Below

Small town theatre,
thick fur huskies,
ice blue eyes,
tied up at the door.

Narrow room with three hundred
seats on a slanting floor
facing a stage,
the screen is hidden behind
a long blue curtain.

Rock music blares
from theatre speakers
while friends and neighbours
gather and take their seats,
shouting and laughing
to be heard over the music.

Young gaggles of girls
run up and down the aisles,
excitedly skip and twirl laughing
across the stage,,
back and forth dancing
doing cartwheels
or clowny fragments
of ballet.

Everyone is dressed casual
in many light layers
now in the warm theatre
unzipped, unbuttoned,
velcro loop and hook
peeled back like layers
of onion or bark of birch.

Northerners continue to pour
into the room,
they all look happy,
uninhibited and free,
each one undoing his outer layers
of clothes as he walks joyfully
up to a friend or relative.

There is no difference of class
here, as anywhere in the far north.
The millionaire and his wife
snuggle down in  seats
beside the welfare mom
and her kids,
the European with the
quieter and shy native
aboriginals, displaced Americans
British, Australians,
and New Zealanders.

They’ve all come to see a movie,
this one about themselves,
in part using their dogs
cabins and friends as a set,
even the mountain flanks
shoulders and peaks
will be full of memories
and adventures.

The movie is called “Eight Below”,
practically tee-shirt weather,
you can tend the dogs in your pajammas
for five minutes easy at eight below
outside it is twenty below

The curtain rises,
the music ends,
the light dims,
snuggle warm in your seats,
the movie begins.


  1. I read Jack London's Call of the Wild when I was a young girl in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The story about the sled dog working up in the arctic landscape of the Yukon helped me make sense of the frigid Forty Below winters on the prairie.

    I am looking forward to watch the film Eight Below.

    Welcome to Poetry Friday.


    1. Yes, the movie "Eight Below" was filmed right along one of my favorite hiking trails in the summer time--a small part of the movie was also filmed somewhere in New Zealand! Thank you for reading and your comment!

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  2. Reminds me of the challenges this week of snow in Seattle & the northwest when a few inches in Denver is not much. I like the fact you can tend the dogs in your pajamas at eight below-different strokes! Lovely capturing of the evening.

    1. Yes, I live down on Vancouver Island these days and we have the same challenges at the moment. Up north, I even went out at minus 40 in my bathrobe to get arm-loads of firewood for the night's fire! You have to time everything so you don't die between the house door and the woodshed! :-) Keeps life interesting.

  3. Brrr...

    Cold poem, but warm welcome to Poetry Friday. I can't wait to see this movie. I'll feel like I know someone who's in it!

    1. The movie has been out for a few years. This is a poem written from that time. The movie is accurate in many respects regarding life in the winter for many northerners. Thank you for the welcome!

  4. Enjoyed your poem! I can really imagine the scene. Welcome to Poetry Friday!

  5. "unzipped, unbuttoned,
    velcro loop and hook
    peeled back like layers
    of onion or bark of birch."

    Welcome to Poetry Friday. It's so neat that you write poetry AND make custom hiking boots. The outdoor rugged world sneaks into your poem here, and I wonder if the poetry sneaks into your boots too. a.

    1. Wow, I appreciate your comment. Yes, I think my boots are poems in leather. Poetry Friday is quite the invention, I'm finding myself amazed, delighted and overwhelmed by it all at the moment!