Let it Snow - at 2.25% APY!

Winter's wicked wail,

Lament, bemoan, deplore,

Almighty icicles, aplenty,

Daggers above my front door.

- Thomas John McSheey (1899-1935)


So wrote the rather misunderstood New England poet McSheey during the winter of 1933, in response to a past due notice from his landlord. This short poem and others were compiled after McSheey's death to form the crux of a choral work arranged by the American composer George Adamson (1905-1992).

Adamson entitled the work "The Inspired and the Weary," painting with musical brushstrokes - through carols and hymns - the troubled life of the poet McSheey (from his youthful days of believing in God, to his early adult years of questioning the existence of God, to his late-20's of going back to the church on every other Sunday and on certain feast days, to his early 30's of smoking a pipe and dabbling in paganism, to his final years during which he only wished to be left alone so he could take a good long nap on the couch).

All of this religious questioning is painted upon a canvas of McSheey's "winter poetry," as it has been termed by scholars. McSheey wrote many of his poems about winter with words "chiseled out of ice and snow," according to one such scholar, a Professor Leland Fieldcrop of Stoneycliff University.

Professor Fieldcrop believes that the frigid tone of the poet's work depicts a deep inner struggle with what he calls "the frozen icicles of McSheey's nature." Either that, or McSheey simply found it a rather easy task to rhyme with such words as "snow" and "ice," as illustrated by the following early poem, which he quickly penned to his lazy brother, James, during one memorable snowstorm in their youth:


Dad told us to clear the front walk,

He told us to clear it of snow and ice,

But all you do is talk and talk and talk,

A little effort on your part would be nice.


I appear to be doing all of the work,

Your contribution is but a pittance,

No, you won't get frostbite you little jerk,

So put back on your stinkin' mittens!


I don't care if you'll give me a nickel,

I'm not going to shovel your share,

I don't care if you're feeling sick; ill,

I don't care, I don't care, I don't care!


I do so tire of hearing you grovel,

Much, much more than you'll ever know,

So please pick up that bloody shovel,

And clear away some #@&%* snow!


Jack Sheedy


Next Time: I will provide extracts from "The Inspired and the Weary," with words by T. J. McSheey and music by G. Adamson, as first performed by the choir of Our Lady of Claire Catholic Church, West Quabbin, NH, which held a bake sale prior to the performance, with Mrs. Higgs's pecan pie being the big hit of the evening. 


Post Script: I received notification from my bank that my IRA certificate of deposit matures this Friday, so I wrote the following ditty in response and mailed it back to the bank in the business reply envelope provided:

{To the tune "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"}

Oh, the recession outside is frightful,

And to retire, someday, would be delightful,

Since my funds have no safe place to go,

Let it grow (at 2.25% APY*)! Let it grow! Let it grow!

*Annual Percentage Yield, assuming that funds remain on deposit until maturity. Penalty for early withdrawal. Member FDIC.

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