January 29, 2016

Winter Words

It is fully winter in my part of the world, and we had a blizzard last weekend that is finally melting away. That makes me think of "Blizzard" by William Carlos Williams.

years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.

Williams says "three days or sixty years, eh?" and I wonder about the blizzards we endure.

In his poem, "Winter Trees," there is an optimism in the trees that have prepared for the inevitable and will wait out the cold.

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

I did some searching online to find the Williams poems and came upon a page of winter words, including some poets and poems that I have not read for many years. If you're feeling the cold, make a nice cup of something hot to drink and read a few.

"The cold earth slept below"
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The cold earth slept below;
Above the cold sky shone;
And all around,
With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
Beneath the sinking moon.

The wintry hedge was black;
The green grass was not seen;
The birds did rest
On the bare thorn’s breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o’er many a crack
Which the frost had made between...

    continue reading

by Mary Oliver

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...  

continue reading

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