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January 23, 2015

Poetry Friday--Winter Blues

"Winter Blue" by Jonas Lie (1913), courtesy The Athenaeum.

I always get the winter blues, but it's my own damn fault for not getting out into the sun. However, here's a poem by Robert Francis that tackles another type of winter blues--colors.
Blue Winter

Winter uses all the blues there are.
One shade of blue for water, one for ice,
Another blue for shadows over snow.
The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice--
Both different blues. And hills row after row
Are colored blue according to how far.
You know the bluejay's double-blue device
Shows best when there are no green leaves to show.
And Sirius is a winterbluegreen star.

from Come Out into the Sun: Poems New and Selected (University of Massachusetts Press, 1965)

I going to continue the discussion of winter blues with my take on one particular shade!
The Price of Blue

The only blue worth
writing about, late in
January each year,
is a blue--vivid, yet pale.

Deep within a snow bank
it resides--a shade that
some may never see for the
white that surrounds it.

It is hypnotic. Once seen
you'll want to excavate
the enigmatic blue to
find its origination.

It evades! The deeper
you dig the further it
slips from your grasp.
If you persevere you

may find purchase,
but in doing so you
will undoubtedly have
paid the price of blue.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Tara at A Teaching Life will lead you through the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week. Stay warm and keep away from snow banks!


  1. Could you have found a more beautiful painting to illustrate this lovely post, Diane? In Francis' poem, I love how even the stars take on that "winterbluegreen." And in yours, the slipping, ever-elusive enigma of blue makes me yearn all the more to capture it.

  2. What Michelle said :).

    Francis is new to me -- love his style and sensibility. Will have to look for more of his work. Love your exploration of the enigmatic concept of blueness, its association with human emotion. Gorgeous painting too! :)

    1. Robert Frost was a fan of Robert Francis. That bit of information was good enough for me to want to find his work.

  3. Just the blue I needed to see on this totally grey day.

    1. I hope this morning is better. It's white here today. Snow, snow, snow.

  4. Thank you for introducing me to Francis. I love the meter and rhyme scheme he uses. (I'm so caught up in my villanelle that these are the things I'm focusing on now.)

    And I have seen that blue you write about, usually on very sunny days when light hits the crunchy form of snow at just the right angle.

    Thanks for sharing your poem.

    1. It's even more noticeable in a frozen waterfall.

  5. I'm blue the post has ended. What a delight your poem was, Diane. I followed it to the end, but you had me at the vivid start.

  6. We are spoiled here in Denver, lots of sunshine, even in winter. Atfirst I thought you were writing about the sky blue, which sometimes we get a peek of a sliver between buildings, for example, and that blue is what you reminded me of. But with the sunshine comes shadows, & that blue, in snow, is what I saw with your lovely poem, Diane. I enjoyed the earlier one by Robert Francis, who covered other blues so well, didn't he?

    1. Francis did cover blues quite well, but I bet there's a whole bunch more he and we missed!

  7. Both your poem and his (and the painting, too!) make me so happy! I've been thinking of and noticing winter blues. I love blue shadows in the winter!!

    1. I like the colors at winter sunset here in NH, not only the reds and oranges of the sky, but also the lowering of the curtain of dark. Slowly, slowly, then wham! We sure can't say winter is without its colors!

  8. Enjoyed your blue mix, Diane. Liked the painting, liked Francis' careful attention to blues everywhere, and liked your "a shade that
    some may never see for the
    white that surrounds it."

    1. Thanks, Tabatha! The blues in the painting are chilling! It makes me shiver just to look at it.

  9. I love your fourth stanza. Thanks for introducing Francis' to me. Hope you are braced for the storm today.

    1. Thanks, Jone. I'm not quite braced, but I do have a supply of candles and matches in case the power goes out.