Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow Poems

'But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.'

So says Billy Collins in 'Snow Day', where he has his dog 'porpoise' through the snow, an accurate image. I am in complete agreement with Billy here this week and have the same 'mind of winter' that Wallace Stephens explains in 'The Snow Man'.

Robert Frost's 'A Dust of Snow' is eight short lines of excellence for a day such as today. I commend it to you, along with Emily Dickinson's 'The snow that never drifts' and which is 'fragrant'. I wonder what snow smells of? Metamorphorically perhaps it smells of all things clean and new. But this is not so for everyone.

The emptiness of the world in the snow is described in Louise Gluck's stark poem 'Snow', on the loss of childhood innocence. Or perhaps one might find uses for Yeats' image of things being 'as mad as the mist and snow' (from the poem with this title). Or Larkin's 'wretched width of cold' ('First sight').

'The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.' (Issa, trans. Hass)

Ah, if only, but I suspect we have many more days yet to play in the snow and let is give us poems (cf Ted Hughes' 'The thought-fox').


  1. ............Between melting and freezing
    The soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell
    Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
    But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
    Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
    Of snow, a bloom more sudden
    Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
    Not in the scheme of generation.
    Where is the summer, the unimaginable
    Zero summer?

    TS Eliot "Four Quartets"

    Or a beautiful evocation of here: "London Snow" by Robert Bridges - muffling and hushing, hiding differences.

  2. Thought that you might like these, written by a year 7 boy; he said that I could send them to you - he had printed off too many copies so he let me have one:

    The feeling of Christmas drifts out of the air
    Bitter wind
    Start of a new year.

    Harsh wind blows through the cold air
    Mountain-tops glisten
    Snowmen dawdle in the street.

    (Lines should be centred!)