Late-winter evening, a light snow,
6:30 on the first day
after the clocks spring ahead
standing on the road below my house
surrounded by fields, woods
and a profound quiet
my ears throb with stillness and a faint ring
from the city traffic I’ve left behind
for minutes no other sound comes by
I listen beneath soft flakes
in a luminous glow
of muted afternoon sun on snow
then solitary barking carries over far fields
brief squawking rises from the trees
down the long trail of the road
around the bends
an engine slowly draws near
and yet I hear
All night the wind filled with snow howls against our walls.
What happens to the animals,
or people still outside
I do not know.
Small ship on a vast ocean our house sails alone through the gale.
Carries us fretting to the borders of morning,
the furnace and the radio
The late March snowfall
melts on Sunday: brown cows
sprawl on matted grass
Snow and snow is all I know
It comes and stays and doesn’t go
It bundles me in peace and calm
The days so short the dark nights long
We play a bit and rest much more
Our weary bodies we restore
Snow and snow I’m glad to know
It’s not yet time for you to go
Moonlit snow records
small creatures’ escapades. Sun
wipes the slate clean.
Feed my winter heart,
my famished, desperate eyes –
pour sunlight on the snow
and brew my spirits’ rise.
Walk you to work through
deep snow. Homeward, I trace our
boot prints, side by side.
Head-on they come, four
mares galloping. Hooves beat down,
fresh snow feathers up.
like a prayer
that first step
onto fresh snow.
In this small, quiet moment
you have not yet
The changes that can take place between the first and final versions of a poem astound me. Sometimes in my poetry journals I am lucky to find both preserved. Here are two approaches from 2010 to a snow-filled morning: haiku, version 2; and the original poem, version 1. It was my year of writing daily haiku, so I condensed the long version into the short one.
Snow Globe (2)
Before dawn, snow falls.
Light lifts, drifts, infuses this
creamy, cradled bowl.
Snow Globe (1)
Before dawn, the snow comes down.
The shed, the hydro wire, the metal
swing chair without its cushions–
all wear the same homage to sky.
Thick as cream, clouds fill the bowl
above us and the flakes tumble
til we are only shapes and shades of clouds.
In our bowl there is no sun
there is no moon
the streetlamps have no power.
We are lit by reflected glory,
a steady glow of grey and ochre
rising from the ground, falling from the sky,
assimilating every atom in our snow globe.
Feb. 23, 2010