Monday, January 16, 2012

The White Stuff

This poem, by the “Belle” of my former home, Amherst, arrived in my e-mailbox yesterday, from  (If you don’t already subscribe, you might want to; I have discovered poets I never knew, and now love, through these daily introductions.)

Every child I know is itching for snow, some with a truly impressive intensity, while my middle-aged self, far from my harsh climatological origins, and sometimes overwhelmed by the logistics of a clear day, cringes at the thought of significant snowfall. To remind us all of the new-making, transformational power of snowfall, I share this:

It sifts from Leaden Sieves -by Emily Dickinson

It sifts from Leaden Sieves -
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road -

It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain -
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again -

It reaches to the Fence -
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces -
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack - and Stem -
A Summer’s empty Room -
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them -

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen -
Then stills its Artisans - like Ghosts -
Denying they have been –

I love the piling up of nouns and descriptions, pointing to the outlining/transformation/disguising of our familiar surroundings that snow effects. I also love the penultimate stanza, elevating the humblest features of the rural landscape to notice, even celebration.

 I am restored by even a light dusting of snow to my childhood rapture at snowfall. (I remember vividly a preschool-less, pre-school experience where my neighbor friend and I made our mothers unearth all our winter regalia for a few flakes, which had mostly stopped falling by the time we toddled out in all our winterwear.) I wish for Greg even a single day of local skiing, preferably today, and for Anna, a day of fullhearted sledding before the season is over.

MKP for The Poplar Grove Muse

1 comment:

  1. Memories of snow in childhood are so pure. I think we should shut down for each flake and enjoy the beauty.