Saturday, December 3, 2016

Poetry about Snow and Winter

By Kenneth Patchen 1911–1972 

The snow is deep on the ground.  

Always the light falls 

Softly down on the hair of my belovèd. 

This is a good world. 

The war has failed. 

God shall not forget us. 

Who made the snow waits where love is. 

Only a few go mad. 

The sky moves in its whiteness 

Like the withered hand of an old king.  

God shall not forget us. 

Who made the sky knows of our love. 

The snow is beautiful on the ground.  

And always the lights of heaven glow  

Softly down on the hair of my beloved.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Nocturne in B-flat minor, Op. 9/1 by Frederic Chopin

Sonnet XCVII: How like a Winter hath my Absence been

By William Shakespeare 1564–1616 

How like a winter hath my absence been 

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! 

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! 

What old December's bareness everywhere! 

And yet this time remov'd was summer's time, 

The teeming autumn, big with rich increase, 

Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime, 

Like widow'd wombs after their lords' decease: 

Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me 

But hope of orphans and unfather'd fruit; 

For summer and his pleasures wait on thee, 

And thou away, the very birds are mute; 

Or if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer 

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor (3rd mvt.) by Frederic Chopin


By Mary Oliver b. 1935 

In winter 

    all the singing is in 

         the tops of the trees 

             where the wind-bird  

with its white eyes 

    shoves and pushes 

         among the branches. 

             Like any of us  

he wants to go to sleep, 

    but he's restless—

         he has an idea, 

             and slowly it unfolds  

from under his beating wings 

    as long as he stays awake. 

         But his big, round music, after all, 

             is too breathy to last.  

So, it's over. 

    In the pine-crown 

         he makes his nest, 

             he's done all he can.  

I don't know the name of this bird, 

    I only imagine his glittering beak 

         tucked in a white wing 

             while the clouds— 

which he has summoned 

    from the north— 

         which he has taught 

             to be mild, and silent—  

thicken, and begin to fall 

    into the world below 

         like stars, or the feathers 

               of some unimaginable bird  

that loves us, 

    that is asleep now, and silent— 

         that has turned itself 

             into snow.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. posth. by Frederic Chopin

Mailboxes in Late Winter

By Jeffrey Harrison b. 1957 

It’s a motley lot. A few still stand

at attention like sentries at the ends

of their driveways, but more lean

askance as if they’d just received a blow

to the head, and in fact they’ve received

many, all winter, from jets of wet snow

shooting off the curved, tapered blade

of the plow. Some look wobbly, cocked

at oddball angles or slumping forlornly

on precariously listing posts. One box

bows steeply forward, as if in disgrace, its door 

lolling sideways, unhinged. Others are dented, 

battered, streaked with rust, bandaged in duct tape,

crisscrossed with clothesline or bungee cords.

A few lie abashed in remnants of the very snow 

that knocked them from their perches.

Another is wedged in the crook of a tree

like a birdhouse, its post shattered nearby.

I almost feel sorry for them, worn out

by the long winter, off-kilter, not knowing

what hit them, trying to hold themselves

together, as they wait for news from spring.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Etude in G-flat major Op. 10/5   by Frederic Chopin


By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807–1882

Out of the bosom of the Air, 

      Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken, 

Over the woodlands brown and bare, 

      Over the harvest-fields forsaken, 

            Silent, and soft, and slow 

            Descends the snow.  

Even as our cloudy fancies take 

      Suddenly shape in some divine expression, 

Even as the troubled heart doth make 

      In the white countenance confession, 

            The troubled sky reveals 

            The grief it feels. 

This is the poem of the air, 

      Slowly in silent syllables recorded; 

This is the secret of despair, 

      Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded, 

            Now whispered and revealed 

            To wood and field.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Larghetto) by Frederic Chopin

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