The Poetry of Snow

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I love the overlap of the seasons: a red fall leaf hemmed with lacy snowflakes.

anjou pear

Usually by the time snow comes the leaves are gone and white becomes the dominant feature. But snow in fall feels poetic because the colors share the scene, both more gorgeous for being together.

That’s what poetry does, right? Brings images together to intensify them both.

golden currant

Maybe that’s why these photos I took of the results of our unseasonal storm this week make me want to pull a book of poetry off my shelf and curl up with it by a window.

burning bush

Like Linda Pastan’s poetry. For some reason, these photos remind me of the end of her poem “Prosody 101”:

There was a dark edge around each flower
as if it had been outlined in ink
instead of frost, and the tension I felt
between the expected and actual
was like that time I came to you, ready
to say goodbye for good, for you had been
a cold front yourself lately, and as I walked in
you laughed and lifted me up in your arms
as if I too were lacy with spring
instead of middle aged like the camellias,
and I thought: so this is Poetry!

sugar maple

All this makes me wish I were better at writing poetry! But I’m going to be brave and put one here that I wrote in grad school for a contest. It’s called “She”:

She has draped the mountains in lace again
on a fickle housewife’s whim:
Here today, gone before you blink.
Not long ago, She swapped blossom-floral curtains
for leaf-green, then crinkly textured red.
Outrageous streaks in the blue sky mark the passing fad
of Her love affair with abstract art and return
intermittently like country-style furnishings.

Brown and white are classic now
with a deft touch of yellow—
the persistent tulip peeking through the snow.

How’s the weather where you are? Are there certain seasons or weather patterns that make you feel like reading or writing certain things?

Leave a comment!

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8 responses »

  1. Those are some lovely photographs~ I’m not crazy about snow but admiring it from indoors is pleasant.

    I’ve alway been charmed by haiku. Though I have no training and rarely write this stuff down, sometimes I compose poems on a whim. Portland’s weather moves me now:

    Waking into twilight
    No sun to greet this morning
    Scheduled rain persists

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  2. Beautiful poem sister! I’m proud of your bravery. Your subject matter reminds me of something Percy Shelley said, “Poetry turns all things to loveliness; it exalts the beauty of that which is most beautiful, and it adds beauty to that which is most deformed; it marries exultation and horror, grief and pleasure, eternity and change; it subdues to union under its light yoke all irreconcilable things.” Nice, huh?

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  3. Nikki- gorgeous pics and beautiful writing. I think poetry is the toughest writing out there, and I’m sorry to say I don’t have a knack for it. I loved your poem.

    On crisp autumn days, I feel like making tea and curling up with a notebook and pencil. Same with winter snow storms.

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    • I love how writing can mean different things to different people. I am not a pencil or a notebook person, but I love that image of you with your tea, your spiral-bound, and your #2. Thanks for sharing!

      I agree about poetry being so tough, and that makes me appreciate great examples even more. I actually subscribe to The New Yorker for the poems the way some people maybe subscribe for the cartoons. 😉

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  4. Wow, such pretty pictures! This makes me miss snow and real fall in a place with trees. So much.
    And I think you’re awesome at poetry writing. You did a much better job than I could ever dream of doing!

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