Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Waiting for the Big Snow

A note from my Aunt Sue:
"I got this card today and told my husband,
'That looks like my niece's house in Indiana!'
He said, 'It might be!'
Just had to send you a picture of it!"


And this card from my friend Steven,
"because it sort of resembles your house!"

Here it is, the middle of February and all the snowfalls so far this season have been merely small or medium. To fill the gap, here's a poem to read while waiting for the big snow . . .

The Snow Arrives After Long Silence

The snow arrives after long silence
from its high home where nothing leaves
tracks or stains or keeps time.
The sky it fell from, pale as oatmeal,
bears up like sheep before shearing.

The cat at my window watches
amazed. So many feathers and no bird!
All day the snow sets its table
with clean linen, putting its house
in order. The hungry deer walk

on the risen loaves of snow.
You can follow the broken hearts
their hooves punch in its crust.
Night after night the big plows rumble
and bale it like dirty laundry

and haul it to the Hudson.
Now I scan the sky for snow,
and the cool cheek it offers me,
and its body, thinned into petals,
and the still caves where it sleeps.

by Nancy Willard

For more dreamy snowy imagery
see my current post:
"Dreaming of Snow"

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence;
custom & ceremony

See also: "Snow Was General"
~ My House: December 22, 2009 ~


  1. Why We Need Snow
    I just came across this note to myself from
    way back on Thursday, 1 February 1, 2007:
    "I'm so stressed but going to walk over to the gym here in a minute. The last few days, I've just jumped in the car and driven, but maybe a nature walk in the lightly falling snow will do me good. The temps are just a bit higher today than recently, and they are slated to fall again starting tomorrow, so seems like today's the day to get out for a walk. See -- I'm trying to calm myself in manner of Thoreau and Annie Dillard.

  2. Little Elegy with Books and Beasts
    in memory of Martin Provensen (1916-1987)
    by Nancy Willard

    Winters when the gosling froze to its nest
    he’d warm it and carry it into the house praising
    its finely engraved wings and ridiculous beak—
    or sit all night by the roan mare, wrapping
    her bruised leg, rinsing the cloths while his wife
    read aloud from Don Quixote, and darkness hung
    on the cold steam of her breath—
    or spend five days laying a ladder for the hen
    to walk dryshod into the barn.

    Now the black cat broods on the porch.
    Now the spotted hound meeting visitors, greets none.
    Nestler, nurse, mender of wounded things,
    he said he didn’t believe in the body.
    He lost the gander—elder of all their beasts
    (not as wise as the cat but more beloved)—
    the night of the first frost, the wild geese
    calling—last seen waddling south
    on the highway, beating his clipped wings.

    He stepped outside through the usual door
    and saw for the last time his bare maples
    scrawling their cold script on the low hills
    and the sycamore mottled as old stone
    and the willows slurred into gold by the spring light,
    and he noticed the boy clearing the dead brush—
    old boughs that broke free under the cover of snow,
    and he raised his hand, and a door in the air opened,
    and what was left of him stumbled and fell
    and lay at rest on the earth like a clay lamp
    still warm whose flame was not nipped or blown
    but lifted out by the one who lit it
    and carried alive over the meadow—
    that light by which we read, while he was here,
    the chapter called Joy in the Book of Creation.