Thursday, December 02, 2010

Poems for the Snow

Santry Wood, today around 3 p.m.
I have spent most of today reading, walking in the snow, taking photographs, reflecting, clearing my driveway of around six to eight inches of snow - all of these things I really enjoyed as they were truly a break from my routine which is normally teaching and doing and preparing lessons and, at this time of year, a Christmas party for the older citizens in the area around our school.  We are off school due to the fact that traffic is just crawling and children cannot get to their places of study.  Anyway, there is only one thing to do at such times - that is, slow down, relax, forget the fret of life and meditate on its significance, because that is what the snow does for us - it makes us slow down and take stock, mend the injured or wounded soul, forget our cares.  With this in mind I have been thinking about and reading some poems on snow, one of which I have already shared in this blog some years ago, namely Snow by the great Northern Irish poet, Louis MacNeice on which I have already commented here: LMacN Snow  I shall copy it out hereunder without comment, and add two other lovely poems about snow, one by Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955) who was an American Modernist poet, called The Snow Man (aptly enough) and one by the enigmatic but brilliant early American poet Emily Dickinson called The Snow That Never Drifts (enigmatically enough) to whet the reader's poetic appetite and in the end offer some healing balm for the wounded soul these cold days of winter.

Poem 1:     Snow

by Louis MacNeice

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.


World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.


And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

Poem 2: The Snow Man

by Wallace Stevens

Snow man today in Santry Wood
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;


And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter


Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,


Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place


For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


It was the umbrella that caught my eye: Santry Wood today!
Poem 3:    The Snow that never drifts

by Emily Dickinson

The Snow that never drifts --
The transient, fragrant snow
That comes a single time a Year
Is softly driving now --


So thorough in the Tree
At night beneath the star
That it was February's Foot
Experience would swear --


Like Winter as a Face
We stern and former knew
Repaired of all but Loneliness
By Nature's Alibit --


Were every storm so spice
The Value could not be --
We buy with contrast -- Pang is good
As near as memory --

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