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Friday, December 14, 2007

Poetry Friday: The Snow Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday morning, there were a few snow patches here and there across the lawn. By this morning, we had a little over a foot of fluffy white stuff covering the ground, perfect snow for skiing, if I do say so myself. The sad thing was the almost three feet of packed in brown snow at the very edge of my driveway, a gift from unmerciful snow plows. This bit of snow was about as tall as my four-year-old's shoulder, a daunting mountain to greet first thing in the morning, when you have to get one child to the school on time. Middle one has been home for three days now--croup, asthma, fever, ugh!

I was going to take a picture of our discouraging task to show all of you, but given my husband and I weren't sure we had enough time to shovel the driveway, the picture had to wait.

But, perhaps you can envision all the wonderful snow art created by yesterday's snow storm, by reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem, The Snow Storm.

The Snow Storm
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.


Mary Lee said...

I groaned in recognition when you described the huge ugly barrier that the oh-so-helpful-and-wonderful-mustn't-criticize-GRRRRRRRR snowplows left at the end of your driveway!

jama said...

The images of this poem are simply wonderful. I had read it as a child (100 years ago), but of course, living in Hawaii, it didn't resonate.

But NOW I know what it all means! Thanks for sharing it. Good luck with all your snow clearing duties.
Hope middle child feels better soon.

Cloudscome said...

What a shame the shoveling must take more time than the picture-taking! Ah life. The poem is timeless though, so we all win.

Liz in Ink said...

Can you just imagine being Emerson and hanging out with Thoreau and just generally looking at life this way???