Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday Poetry Stretch - Snow

William and I have been reading books about snow -- Snowflake Bentley, The Story of Snow, and The Secret Life of a Snowflake.

Sadly, we won't be having white holidays this year. In fact, it looks like it will be raining. Even though we don't expect to see flakes any time soon, we're still dreaming of snow angels, sledding, snowball fights, and hoping for at least one snow day.

Have you been dreaming of snow? Whether you love it or hate, we've all got some snow poetry in our hearts. I particularly like to read about it during this time of year. I'm fond of Dickinson (It sifts from leaden sieves,/ It powders all the wood,/ It fills with alabaster wool/ The wrinkles of the road.), Collins (Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,/ its white flag waving over everything,/ the landscape vanished,), Stevens (One must have a mind of winter/ To regard the frost and the boughs/ Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;) and many others.

So, I've been inspired to read and write about snow this week. How about you? Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results later this week.


  1. I rarely write prose poems, but here is one I began two years ago and am still reworking:

    The Money Bin in Winter
    By Steven Withrow

    After shoveling last night's snow and tromping up the driveway with the morning mail, I picture Scrooge McDuck, as Carl Barks once drew him, swan-diving in swim trunks, like a cartoon gannet heady with rapacious glee, deep into an ocean of cold coinage. Maybe I'm wired wrong, but it occurs to me a grown man might sink headfirst in so much snow, leaving just his boots behind for a sled dog or the Beagle Boys to uncover. Does he surface, or does he emerge bootless in some senses-vexing wonderspace? Curious, I toss bills aside and start to take a running leap. When off the low, chill wind comes the halting brontosaur crunch of a plow truck pressing its heavy claim on the freshly minted street. Noon sun. Noon wind painting ripples on the bare places where it passes. Is it midnight now in Duckburg? I see Uncle Scrooge, on his back, adrift on the swelling Fort Knox tide. I think. How it's all too real, it's all too real, it's all too real for words.

    ©2011 by Steven Withrow

  2. I wrote this sonnet for my editors a few years ago.


    I crease page seven of my latest tale
    in sixths and wonder where to cut the fold.
    I picture crystals, picture sky and pale
    flakes falling through an endless weight of cold.
    The scissors leave their footprints in the snow,
    then click and turn like skates upon the ice,
    defining winter softly as they go,
    pure chill, pure math, pure fall of null. Precise,
    the way you travel every word and line,
    in search of an imaginary space,
    where nouns and verbs and wishes all align,
    where characters and plots are made of lace—
    so when we open up the subtle square,
    we find a look of winter beauty there.

    —Kate Coombs, 2011
    all rights reserved

  3. P.S. Tricia, you can get a fairly inexpensive paperback collection of Snowflake Bentley's snowflake photos from Dover: http://www.amazon.com/Snowflakes-Photographs-Dover-Pictorial-Archive/dp/0486412539/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324446439&sr=1-2

  4. Though we have no snow yet, I wrote this memory poem.

    Snow Angel

    The snow angel angles toward the barn
    as if she turned at the last moment for a look.
    Too old now for such games, my granddaughter
    becomes a small child again in the snow.
    I encourage it, feeling the years barreling along,
    gaining momentum, heading toward the falls.
    I do not want to see her that mature.
    I lie down in the snow by her side,
    our hands describing wings in the whiteness.
    The path between our houses is well trodden,
    but only up here on the brow of my hill
    do the snow angels fly, a grandmother’s guilt,
    a grandmother’s pleasure.

    ©2911 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

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  6. My contribution. I'm still trying to understand satisfying endings...

    Finding North

    What happened
    to the language
    of the north?
    To all the secret places—
    the clocks, the mice,
    the rabbit-moon,
    the milky breath
    of morning?
    To apples baking,
    hotcakes rising,
    the buttery, sugared,
    spicy taste of dawn?

    Show me, tell me,
    take me there—
    to sleeping gardens,
    creeping vines,
    to skies of berry-blue;
    to woolen socks
    and mistletoe,
    to gingerbread and tea,
    to falling snow,
    and Jack Frost
    etching patterns
    on the glass.

    (c) 2011 julie krantz, all rights reserved

  7. Jane and Julie, those are lovely! Now I want to go make snow angels and look at the rabbit-moon.

  8. Oh, and I meant to say, Steven, I really like your cold coinage!

  9. Thanks, Kate. I love your "pure fall of null" -- such wonderful use of l's and liquid consonants throughout the poem.

    Jane: "our hands describing wings in the whiteness" -- I'll keep that line in my memory.

    Julie: I'll never think of morning quite the same way:

    the buttery, sugared,
    spicy taste of dawn

    Delectable stuff!


    Women in my childhood days,
    Wearing longish dresses;
    Older sisters on Sundays,
    My memory refreshes;
    Unwanted whiteness,
    Their petticoats are showing;
    Necessary politeness,
    Tells them where it's snowing.

  11. A spontaneous haiku about snow:

    Cold crystal from clouds
    woven in a white blanket
    to wrap winter earth.

    (copyright Megan Abrahams)

    Thanks for commenting on my blog post about books for the holidays - and for sharing additional children's books lists.


    My neighborhood is
    A blanket of frozen clouds ...
    Heaven's earthly form.


    Hooray here comes snow
    Droplets of frosted crystals
    I don't have to go!

    (c) Charles Waters 2011 all rights reserved.

  13. Very cute Snowing Down South. Lovely poems, all.

  14. Just stopped by to wish you a happy new year and to thank you for your interesting prompts!
    Happy New Year Limerick.