Friday, January 24, 2014

Poetry Friday: The Snowman

I'm thinking about gardens this year, but I decided it's time to acknowledge, on behalf of my northern friends who keep posting snow photos, that many gardens are dormant right now.  I don't have the mind of winter; I'm a tropical girl all the way.  But when I read this poem, and imagine having been cold a long time, I think I start to see what Wallace Stevens means.  At least a little bit.
 
The Snowman

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.

Wallace Stevens

Here's today's roundup.


7 comments:

Liz Steinglass said...

I love the silent sound of snow. I think that's what I hear at the end of this poem.

Doraine Bennett said...

I love this Stevens poem. I'm a true Southern girl, and I feel like I've been cold for a very long time! Spring where art thou? I know, it's still January.

Karen Edmisten said...

Stevens' so often saddens me, but he's always worth it.

LInda Baie said...

I'm glad to see a favorite, Ruth. It is beautiful. That first line, ah to write one like that! Thank you-snow yesterday, warm tomorrow, snow coming Monday-wierd winter for us!

Violet N. said...

I think love for winter is definitely a state of mind. A few years ago we went to Hawaii for two weeks in January, and I loved it. But once back in our shivery winter, I resented the weather for weeks. (And we didn't even have snow, just our typical cool, rainy west coast winter.)

Thus I think Mr. Stevens speaks a lot of truth when he says:

"One must have a mind of winter ...
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter ... and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind..."

Here this year, though, I'm joining you in thinking of gardens, Ruth. Yesterday on a walk I saw pink rhododendrons pushing through their blossom casings.

Mary Lee said...

Oh, I do love this! So very true.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

My "mind of winter" is also lacking. We get cold, but it's just not the same without the magic of silent snow.