white ladies ballet across the skies,
snow quilts cover up the night;
cold to the tongue, quick to the eyes,
painting the bracken tarlatan and white.
seasonal kids supernumerary
for Nutcracker Sugarplum -
costumed swarm of little fairie,
oblivious of the next scene to come:
fear under the temblor of firing gun,
tufted marshes once spared from axe;
hand on shoulder, they cry and run:
geese carrying demise upon their backs.
white ladies - snowflakes
braken - plural of brake - as in canebrake, a thick network of canes. The singular is brake, and the plural vowel a seems to be modified, and is often spelled "bracken" . When speaking, I use long A for the singular and a short E for the A in the plural.
tarlatan - coarse stiff white weave fabric; the snow actually "paints the tarlatan braken white" but we express it somewhat differently in the poem.
seasonal kids supernumerary - the local ballet kids who dance in the Christmas presentation of The Nutcracker Suite, usually as sugarplum fairies.
fairie - means the realm of the fairies and is not a typo.
The destruction of innocence is compared to the destruction of the habitat of winter geese