Frozen On A Slope Too Steep


Frozen On Skis and A Slope Too Steep
(At the Urging of My Daughter)

“I hate you, I hate you,” I said
to my own child, who (wincingly) smiled.
“Just take the turn slowly,” she led

in a perfect and slow-motion wedge.
But in my starts, my tight pace undialed–
“I hate you, I hate you,” I said.

Beside us, snowboarders slip-sped
and skiers spit skid-curves of wild
at my child, who so wincingly smiled,

while I, cryogenically dead,
stuck fast to stilled tilt. She beguiled,
“just take the turn slowly,” and led.


I am not a good or experienced skier, and have a fair amount of fear of steep slopes, in part because I hate the loss of control I feel when going fast.  So, here’s a poem both for the dVerse Poets prompt, hosted by Claudia Schoenfeld, to write about letting go, and a Real Toads prompt, hosted by Hedgewitch (Joy Ann Jones) to write a “cascade” poem, that is, one with a repeated line scheme.  I’m not sure that I’ve met either challenge very successfully, but I did get to the bottom of the hill.  (For more on either prompt, or the cascade form, check out the sites above.)

Further note, I would never have thought that I would ever be capable of saying such words to a child and both she and I were a bit shocked.  I guess it is wrong to label what steep slopes inspire in me as a “fair amount” of fear.  (I am okay on easy slopes and she and I really do get along quite well.  She’s just a much better skier who’s learned that it’s best not to ask me to keep her company to higher heights!) 

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46 Comments on “Frozen On A Slope Too Steep”

  1. claudia Says:

    ha…now you know…just take the turn slowly…smiles..but cool that she led and encouraged you… reminded me of when i started snowboarding…i was at the end of my power and my little one (she was 6 at the time) skied next to me and said “mom, you’re doing fine, you gonna make it…”

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. But the problem with turning – and perhaps if I’d not done the form I could have worked this in better – is that there is a moment when you are going straight downhill!

      I actually went cross=country skiing first time today. Exhausting but good for me as it was not possible to go fast in the powdery snow of today. k

  2. brian miller Says:

    smiles…i used to ski quite a bit back in highschool…and remember those early days of learning…i have dropped a curse or two as well…and i understand you shock at saying it…but also the emotion behind it…

  3. Mary Says:

    Ha, getting to the bottom of the hill is indeed an accomplishment. I once got to the top of a hill and WALKED down! (Sigh) Loved how you used the cascade form.

  4. I am scared of heights and skiing..ha..ha…I thought these lines were clever:

    snowboarders slip-sped
    and skiers spit skid-curves of wild

    I like the cascade pattern as well ~

  5. hedgewitch Says:

    Love this k. You have interjected both realism(!) self-deprecating amusement, and the things that terror inspires us to say, along with some nice poetic wraps, like ‘cryogenically dead,’ an image which both appalls me and makes me laugh out loud, for some reason.. I would have probably expressed myself even more …er, strongly. I love the lines you chose for your first stanza and the subsequent repeats, nicely turning them a bit as you went down the slope, and the sense of letting go, however paralyzed with fear. (Well, I would have been.) Thanks for trying out the form, and sharing your moments of desperation and challenging parent-child rapport.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. I liked the cryogenically dead – I wanted to phrase it differently – undead–I don’t know, but you got the idea. I really do have the most wonderful daughters. Thanks for the form – I will try again some time in more serious vein. k.

  6. ellaedge Says:

    Wow, you remind me of my first down skiing down hill. I went with a couple and they were fighting-I so wanted to get out of their way. Scary, that was down a rather large hill. Bravo for facing your challenge, in both life n’ form ;D

  7. J Cosmo Newbery Says:

    cryogenically dead – I can definitely relate to that! If there really was a hell, I am sure it would be cold, not hot.

  8. I can recall a similar conversation with a daughter who was holding a snake … no, really, a snake … and coming towards me …

  9. Mama Zen Says:

    “Cryogenically dead” gets my vote for turn of phrase of the day!

  10. Now, this IS letting go, K. I really liked this.

  11. Marian Says:

    cryogenically dead! argh! i am way too risk-averse to even try skiing, so i appreciated your perspective here. yay!

  12. When you’re learning to ski some of those hills are so scary – who knows what words might slip out! I find one (easy) hill I can do and just keep skiing that same hill all day!

  13. kkkkaty1 Says:

    our kids have a way of teaching us lessons…how they are so wise beyond their years amazes me …she knows you very well 😉

  14. zongrik Says:

    it’s so cool when your kids get old enough to lead you and teach you new things about life, including how to look at things…

    prima donna cat fight

  15. Kelvin S.M. Says:

    …just take the turn slowly… i think that’s all you need… at least you’ve tried your hardest to be as cool as she was…anyway it’s all about the company & the time you spent with her… smiles…

  16. How excellent! I want to applaud your light-hearted approach to the task, and the skill with which you pulled it off. I so admire your control of sounds, while never losing the sense of what you want to say.

  17. David King Says:

    Wonderful. I can see the moment plain as a snowball, and I can see it from both sides. That’s great writing!

  18. I can SO relate! I detest snow AND skiing. My brother skis, and talked me into trying it ONCE. I hate him! Just kidding. I love my brother.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Well, I don’t mind snow and I don’t actually dislike skiing, but I am not good enough for more difficult slopes. I actually injured myself first time down many years ago, and though I got over that, I think there’s a bit of residual memory. (Plus I don’t really like speed anyway!) But I’m glad that you get it! k.

  19. ninot Says:

    I tried skiing twice and I hated it both times. I blamed the mountain the first time, then resigned to the fact skiing was not for me the second time. I loved skating though, and would love to try that again.

  20. Oh I love that your child said “take the turn slowly” and led. Isn’t it wonderful that she is so close to you and protective? A role reversal. What a lovely poem 🙂

  21. Yes yes this brought back memories of my first day at the slopes… I hated my best friends… For a few days, and then I took lessons (not from my friends) …
    Very nice writing.

  22. Helen Dehner Says:

    Wow, can I ever relate! This is such a wonderful account of ‘the great ski experience.’ The first time I stepped into a ski binding and started out down the HILL .. I fell tearing the ligaments in my right knee. Managed to ski after that, but I was pitiful. No more. I leave that to my grandson.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Well, actually the very first time I skied (in High School), I fell on second slope, my bindings didn’t break, and I was stuck in the snow waiting for a stretcher with a hurt Achilles’ tendon. This stopped me from trying again for a long time.

      Now, I do not go much in part because of time and money though just got some xcountry skis so trying that.


  23. kateri Says:

    I’ve done cross country skiing, but never the down hill kind. It does look a bit scary.

  24. Sherry Marr Says:

    This is really humorous, and I so admire how effortlessly your cascade poem flows. And bravo for being brave enough to stand on a snowy hill ON SKIIS. Whoa! Definite Fear Factor stuff! Hope the X country skiing works out better. I know people who love it. Me, home with a fluffy blanket and a hot drink!

  25. Other Mary Says:

    Oh my! This is really wonderful!

  26. You are braver than I! Love the poem!

  27. ManicDdaily Says:

    Accidentally posted a comment (meant as an email to someone else) about my poor husband who has an awful flu right now. If anyone got it as a reply to their comment – so sorry.

  28. Sabio Lantz Says:

    ‘Tis fun when the kids switch our roles.

  29. janehewey Says:

    split-sped and spit-skid curves. These are some great tongue-y phrases coloring this real life situation. When offspring take the lead, at least for me, it is startling. I think “i hate you” sums it up quite clearly. Your first and last lines work really well together, a wonderfully structured poem, k.

  30. lucychili Says:

    fear speaks from an inner child perhaps, it sounds like that kind of voice. the images of the skiers and snow are really evocative.

  31. Susan Says:

    I think the Cascade gives the feeling of one foot after the other when you are frozen with fear in the redundant cold and ice. Isn’t the “I hate you” lie what mothers’ say in childbirth?

  32. Yousei Hime Says:

    This reminds me of when my father tried to get me to ice skate with him in Wisconsin (we were there for Christmas). It was a first for both of us. I whine and complained, probably cried too, until he let me go back to the car. He was so sore the next day he couldn’t move. Great memories. 😉

  33. ds Says:

    Love the idea of the cascade poem (which works wonderfully here). And I totally relate to your skiing experience. We skied often BC. I was a novice & Mr. Long-Suffering a black-diamond kind of guy, so the terror of facing the steep slope is still real to me…(then blew out my knee & the skiing stopped). Someone once told me that their response to a child’s “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you” was “No you don’t, you love me.” Which is the truth, yes? 🙂

  34. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Oh, I can relate~ I am a terrible skier, and for the same reasons….I late losing control which is what happens on the downhill. I would rather mince down it. LOL!

    And I remember how shocked I was when those words came out of my own mouth towards my son. And I meant it a bit. It’s one of those things you remember and it goes deep..

    while I, cryogenically dead,….I had to laugh at that!

    Raised in NJ, we had terrific snowfalls every year and I was challenged by using skis left from a 6 foot uncle who fled to Panama. And my brothers would build ramps on Olsen’s hill, and water it at night so you were skiing on ice. The only end here was the road or Madsen’s pond. Neither a good choice, because right after the road was the river! LOL! Amazing we all didn’t die.

    What impresses me, what comes to mind is the ‘stop-go’ of the poem’s theme….the attempts of motion forward and the fear that holds us back…is so well depicted in your choice of words.

    It’s a delightful and psychologically layered poem.

    Lady Nyo, who also was the worse skater around. But I made great Snow Angels.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Not sure about the poem, but thanks. You would probably like better this February Grandmother post with children’s drawings. I am a much better skater than skier. But I am sure you have me beat in snow angels. k.

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