Saturday, January 7, 2012

Two Winter Poems

The Snowshoe Hare

The fox
is so quiet --
he moves like a red rain --
even when his 
shoulders tense and then
snuggle down for an instant
against the ground
and the perfect
gate of his teeth
slams shut
there is nothing
you can hear
but the cold creek moving
over the dark pebbles
and across the field
and into the rest of the world --
and even when you find
in the morning
the feathery
scuffs of fur
of the vanished
snowshoe hare
on the pale spires
of the lost summer -
fluttering a little
but only
like the lapping
of the wind itself -
there is still
nothing that you can hear
but the cold creek moving
over the old pebbles
and across the field and into
another year.

Mary Oliver, 1992

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wallace Stevens, 1954


  1. Somehow the Wallace Stephens poem (and that was written the year of my birth, by the way) reminds me of being underwater. Same-same in some beautiful way. Letting go of everything that is not.

  2. These are lovely, Elizabeth. Just what I needed today. Thank you.

  3. I love, love, love that Stephens guy.

    thank you for both of these.



  4. Mary Oliver is a favorite of mine - she "sees" so movingly what life is all about. And - I think maybe I have a "mind of winter."



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