Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Winter Snow

On this first day of the year in Chicago it has been steadily snowing since early morning.  It snowed on New Year's Eve afternoon and evening as well and we are told to expect more snow tomorrow.  This is a new year but it is not a new season; rather it is the winter of old like those I encountered and perhaps enjoyed more in the Wisconsin of my youth.  There is no better way to start this year than to present some verse commemorating Nature as she presents herself in all her snowy wonder and power.


 The cold earth slept below

The cold earth slept below;
         Above the cold sky shone;
                And all around,
                With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
                Beneath the sinking moon.

The wintry hedge was black;
         The green grass was not seen;
                The birds did rest
                On the bare thorn’s breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o’er many a crack
                Which the frost had made between.

Thine eyes glow’d in the glare
         Of the moon’s dying light;
                As a fen-fire’s beam
                On a sluggish stream
Gleams dimly—so the moon shone there,
And it yellow’d the strings of thy tangled hair,
                That shook in the wind of night.

The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
         The wind made thy bosom chill;
                The night did shed
                On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
                Might visit thee at will.

Percy Bysshe Shelley


Brian Joseph said...

We are expecting significant snow here on Long Island tomorrow night so that verse is particularly relevant to me.

The meteorological connection aside, this is the first time that I have read this poem. It seems to be very effective and very dark.

A Super Dilettante said...

Dear James,

Happy New Year. How wonderful to start my morning with a poem by Shelley. I hope that you are keeping warm in the snowy weather. We have been very lucky so far this year as we haven't seen any snow so far in the part of Scotland I live. It's probably because I live so close to the coast and the sea. It's a little bit milder. It's nice to have the time to yourself, reading the books one loves, listening to the classical music or drinking a cup of tea or coffee in the comfort of your own home when the world outside is frozen and covered with a blanket of snow.

Wishing you a wonderful year of love, peace and happiness. And I'm very much looking forward to reading your excellent blog, including your book reviews and recommendations.

With warm wishes,


James said...

Still snowing here today. The poem has a darkness but seems appropriate in these Winter days when darkness steals so much of our day, even when the sun shows itself.

James said...

ASD, Thanks so much for your warm wishes. I hope you share the same throughout this new year.
Now that I have done a bit of snow shoveling I believe I will settle in with a bit of classical music, coffee, and a good book in my own warm abode.