February 22, 2013

Poetry Friday--"The Snow Man"

The past two weekends have brought us snow. We'll see what happens this coming weekend. However, it is still February and snow can come as late as May here in southern New Hampshire, so, rather than rail against it, I think it best to celebrate the white stuff. I won't fall back on Robert Frost, although his "Dust of Snow" is a favorite, instead I'll share a poem by Wallace Stevens:
The Snow Man

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.
The snowman is indifferent to the winter, but, he can't afford to be indifferent, for without winter, where would he be?

If you'd like to see how fine artists have been inspired by snow, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has put together a Pinterest board called "Let It Snow!" The board also contains a few photos of the MFA after the February 8-9 blizzard.

Sheri Doyle will be hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up. See you there!

Photo by silverlunace.


  1. I'm smiling as I read these words and watch the snow spin outside my window, here in Canada. We've definitely "been cold a long time" and it's funny to think of how we just accept it after awhile, not seeing "misery in the sound of the wind."
    The groundhog told us we'd get an early spring, though I see no signs yet.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. I just love these lines:
    "To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
    The spruces rough in the distant glitter"
    Tired of winter as I am, they remind me that the landscape is transormed when it snows. And thanks for sharing the MFA Pinterest board. How wonderful!

  3. Fun Pinterest board, indeed! We had enough ice to close school, but now it's warm enough to be melting.

  4. Sweet. We did not get enough snow to make a snowman this year. And already I am turning my mind toward gardening season... so I think it's too late for me. But I do love that poem, especially the last line. I am grooving on Pinterest these days too so thanks for the link!

  5. Yes, one must have the mind of winter to live in New Hampshire or Maine, or you will go crazy waiting for spring! A few more snows and we should be there!

  6. That first line has always been one of my favorites. You don't even need snow.

  7. These are my favorite lines: and not to think
    Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

    The wind this winter has been unbelievable. It requires great effort for me not to hear the misery in it, especially when I see all the robins that decided to stick around and not fly south this year. Actually, it makes me want to weep.

    The latest weather report is stating we're in for snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches. It's supposed to be heavy and wet. Talk about misery...