Snow

S
The Snow Arrives After Long Silence by Nancy Willard
Nancy Willard
The snow arrives after long silence
from its high home where nothing leaves
tracks or strains 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
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Dreams by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
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The Runaway by Robert Frost
Robert Frost
Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
We stopped by a mountain pasture to say, ‘Whose colt?’
A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head
And snorted at us. And then he had to bolt.
We heard the miniature thunder where he fled,
And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and grey,
Like a shadow against the curtain of falling flakes.
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Snow by Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
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Winter Flowers by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
In fresh snow that fell on old snow
I see wild roses in bloom, springtime,
an orchard of apple and peach trees in bloom,
lovers of different preferences
walking naked in new snow, not shivering,
no illusion, no delusion, no bluebells.
Why should I live by reality that murders?
I wear a coat of hope and desire.
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City by Frederick Seidel
Frederick Seidel
Right now, a dog tied up in the street is barking
With the grief of being left,
A dog bereft.
Right now, a car is parking.

The dog emits
Petals of a barking flower and barking flakes of snow
That float upward from the street below
To where another victim sits:
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Good King Wenceslas by John Mason Neale
John Mason Neale
Good King Wenceslas look’d out,
On the Feast of Stephen;
When the snow lay round about,
Deep, and crisp, and even:
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
Gath’ring winter fuel.

“Hither page and stand by me,
If thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence.
Underneath the mountain;
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On Receiving News of the War by Isaac Rosenberg
Isaac Rosenberg
Snow is a strange white word;
No ice or frost
Have asked of bud or bird
For Winter's cost.

Yet ice and frost and snow
From earth to sky
This Summer land doth know,
No man knows why.
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To fight aloud is very brave - (138) by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
To fight aloud, is very brave -
But gallanter, I know
Who charge within the bosom
The Calvalry of Wo -

Who win, and nations do not see -
Who fall - and none observe -
Whose dying eyes, no Country
Regards with patriot love -
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Snow by Frederick Seidel
Frederick Seidel
Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all will get there.

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Invocation by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
Silent, about-to-be-parted-from house.
Wood creaking, trying to sigh, impatient.
Clicking of squirrel-teeth in the attic.
Denuded beds, couches stripped of serapes.

Deep snow shall block all entrances
and oppress the roof and darken
the windows.O Lares,
don’t leave.
The house yawns like a bear.
Guard its profound dreams for us,
that it return to us when we return.


November 1969
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First Snow, Kerhonkson by Diane di Prima
Diane di Prima
for Alan This, then, is the gift the world has given me
(you have given me)
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Hunger Moon by Jane Cooper
Jane Cooper
The last full moon of February stalks the fields; barbed wire casts a shadow.
Rising slowly, a beam moved toward the west
stealthily changing position

until now, in the small hours, across the snow
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Gracious Living ‘Tara’ by Tom Raworth
Tom Raworth
lonely as four cherries on a tree
at night, new moon, wet roads
a moth or a snowflake
whipping past glass

lonely as the red noses of four clowns
thrust up through snow
their shine four whitened panes
drawn from imagined memory
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“Crying, my little one, footsore and weary” by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
Crying, my little one, footsore and weary?
Fall asleep, pretty one, warm on my shoulder:
I must tramp on through the winter night dreary,
While the snow falls on me colder and colder.

You are my one, and I have not another;
Sleep soft, my darling, my trouble and treasure;
Sleep warm and soft in the arms of your mother,
Dreaming of pretty things, dreaming of pleasure.
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Six Prayers by Ralph Salisbury
Ralph Salisbury
Thunderer God of the turbulent sky may
my turbulent mind shape
for my people
rain clouds
beans
pumpkins
and yams.

East Spirit
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The Storm by Nora Marks Dauenhauer
Nora Marks Dauenhauer
Like people
emerging from a steambath,
bending over,
steaming from their heads
and shoulders,
the ring of the mountains
from the Chilkat Range
to the Juneau ice field
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In the bleak midwinter by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

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‘The Opal Sea’ by Ella Higginson
Ella Higginson
An inland sea – blue as a sapphire – set
Within a sparkling, emerald mountain chain
Where day and night fir-needles sift like rain
Thro’ the voluptuous air. The soft winds fret
The waves, and beat them wantonly to foam.
The golden distances across the sea
Are shot with rose and purple. Languorously
The silver seabirds in wide circles roam.
The sun drops slowly down the flaming West
And flings its rays across to set aglow
The islands rocking on the cool waves’ crest
And the great glistening domes of snow on snow.
And thro’ the mist the Olympics flash and float
Like opals linked around a beating throat.

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Fall, leaves, fall by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
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Haiku by Etheridge Knight
Etheridge Knight
1
Eastern guard tower
glints in sunset; convicts rest
like lizards on rocks.

2
The piano man
is stingy, at 3 A.M.
his songs drop like plum.

3
Morning sun slants cell.
Drunks stagger like cripple flies
On jailhouse floor.

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A January Dandelion by George Marion McClellan
George Marion McClellan
All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere
Like desert sand, when the winds blow,
There is each moment sifted through the air,
A powdered blast of January snow.
O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled
By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed,
Was folly growth and blooming over soon.
And yet, thou blasted yellow-coated gem,
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The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens
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,
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from Light: “If I stand” by Inger Christensen
Inger Christensen
If I stand
alone in the snow
it is clear
that I am a clock

how else would eternity
find its way around

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After great pain, a formal feeling comes – (372) by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
Regardless grown,
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Night-Piece by Charles Reznikoff
Charles Reznikoff
I saw within the shadows of the yard the shed
and saw the snow upon its roof—
an oblong glowing in the moonlit night.

I could not rest or close my eyes,
although I knew that I must rise
early next morning and begin my work again,
and begin my work again.

That day was lost—that month as well;
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Publication – is the Auction (788) by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Publication – is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man –
Poverty – be justifying
For so foul a thing

Possibly – but We – would rather
From Our Garret go
White – unto the White Creator –
Than invest – Our Snow –
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Rhode Island by William Meredith
William Meredith
Here at the seashore they use the clouds over & over
again, like the rented animals in Aïda.
In the late morning the land breeze
turns and now the extras are driving
all the white elephants the other way.
What language are these children shouting in?
He is lying on the beach listening.

The sand knocks like glass, struck by bare heels.
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the snow is melting by Kobayashi Issa
Kobayashi Issa
The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.
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“Alone I stare into the frost’s white face” by Osip Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam
Alone I stare into the frost’s white face.
It’s going nowhere, and I—from nowhere.
Everything ironed flat, pleated without a wrinkle:
Miraculous, the breathing plain.

Meanwhile the sun squints at this starched poverty—
The squint itself consoled, at ease . . .
The ten-fold forest almost the same . . .
And snow crunches in the eyes, innocent, like clean bread.
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Abundance by John Ciardi
John Ciardi
I

Once I had 1000 roses.
Literally 1000 roses.
I was working for a florist
back in the shambling ‘Thirties
when iced skids of 250 roses
sold for $2 at Faneuil Hall.
So for $8 I bought
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anyone lived in a pretty how town by E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
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Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter by John Crowe Ransom
John Crowe Ransom
There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown study
Astonishes us all.

Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond
Where she took arms against her shadow,
Or harried unto the pond
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The Cardinal by Henry Carlile
Henry Carlile
Not to conform to any other color
is the secret of being colorful.

He shocks us when he flies
like a red verb over the snow.

He sifts through the blue evenings
to his roost.

He is turning purple.
Soon he'll be black.
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The Dead of Winter by Samuel Menashe
Samuel Menashe
In my coat I sit
At the window sill
Wintering with snow
That did not melt
It fell long ago
At night, by stealth
I was where I am
When the snow began
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A Dirge by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
Why were you born when the snow was falling?
You should have come to the cuckoo’s calling,
Or when grapes are green in the cluster,
Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster
For their far off flying
From summer dying.

Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
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Exile by Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
These hills are sandy. Trees are dwarfed here. Crows
Caw dismally in skies of an arid brilliance,
Complain in dusty pine-trees. Yellow daybreak
Lights on the long brown slopes a frost-like dew,
Dew as heavy as rain; the rabbit tracks
Show sharply in it, as they might in snow.
But it’s soon gone in the sun—what good does it do?
The houses, on the slope, or among brown trees,
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Homework by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Homage Kenneth Koch If I were doing my Laundry I’d wash my dirty Iran
I’d throw in my United States, and pour on the Ivory Soap, scrub up Africa, put all the birds and elephants back in the jungle,
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The Little Match Girl by Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
It was biting cold, and the falling snow,
Which filled a poor little match girl’s heart with woe,
Who was bareheaded and barefooted, as she went along the street,
Crying, “Who’ll buy my matches? for I want pennies to buy some meat!”

When she left home she had slippers on;
But, alas! poor child, now they were gone.
For she lost both of them while hurrying across the street,
Out of the way of two carriages which were near by her feet.

So the little girl went on, while the snow fell thick and fast;
And the child’s heart felt cold and downcast,
For nobody had bought any matches that day,
Which filled her little mind with grief and dismay.

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Nature, That Washed Her Hands in Milk by Sir Walter Ralegh
Sir Walter Ralegh
Nature, that washed her hands in milk,
And had forgot to dry them,
Instead of earth took snow and silk,
At love’s request to try them,
If she a mistress could compose
To please love’s fancy out of those.

Her eyes he would should be of light,
A violet breath, and lips of jelly;
Her hair not black, nor overbright,
And of the softest down her belly;
As for her inside he’d have it
Only of wantonness and wit.

At love’s entreaty such a one
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O Heart Uncovered by Joseph Ceravolo
Joseph Ceravolo
We lived in province snow range
and something that we uncover
is like living
in one Arizona room
when we discover all we owe
to darkness
we never really know.

Tomorrow is the national holiday for independence—
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Praise by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
for Yehuda Amichai 1.

Snow clouds shadow the bay, on the ice the odd fallen gull.
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Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears;
Yet slower, yet, O faintly, gentle springs!
List to the heavy part the music bears,
Woe weeps out her division, when she sings.
Droop herbs and flowers;
Fall grief in showers;
Our beauties are not ours.
O, I could still,
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The Soldier and the Snow by Miguel Hernández
Miguel Hernández
December has frozen its double-edged breath
and blows it down from the icy heavens,
like a dry fire coming apart in threads,
like a huge ruin that topples on soldiers.

Snow where horses have left their hoof-marks
is a solitude of grief that gallops on.
Snow like split fingernails, or claws badly worn,
like a malice out of heaven or a final contempt.
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Three Men Walking, Three Brown Silhouettes by Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Ostriker
They remember the dead who died in the resistance.
It is in sweet tones that they speak of them.
They shake their heads, still, after the dinner

Walking back to the car, while an evening snow
That has started windlessly, white from pearl-gray,
Falls into streets that are already slushy.

They shake their heads, as we do when there is something
Too strange to believe,
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Toward an Organic Philosophy by Kenneth Rexroth
Kenneth Rexroth
SPRING, COAST RANGE

The glow of my campfire is dark red and flameless,
The circle of white ash widens around it.
I get up and walk off in the moonlight and each time
I look back the red is deeper and the light smaller.
Scorpio rises late with Mars caught in his claw;
The moon has come before them, the light
Like a choir of children in the young laurel trees.
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Way-Station by Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish
The incoherent rushing of the train
Dulls like a drugged pain

Numbs
To an ether throbbing of inaudible drums

Unfolds
Hush within hush until the night withholds

Only its darkness.
From the deep
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Blizzard by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
Snow:
years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.
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Bronzes by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
I
The bronze General Grant riding a bronze horse in Lincoln Park
Shrivels in the sun by day when the motor cars whirr by in long processions going somewhere to keep apppointment for dinner and matineés and buying and selling
Though in the dusk and nightfall when high waves are piling
On the slabs of the promenade along the lake shore near by
I have seen the general dare the combers come closer
And make to ride his bronze horse out into the hoofs and guns of the storm.

II
I cross Lincoln Park on a winter night when the snow is falling.
Lincoln in bronze stands among the white lines of snow, his bronze forehead meeting soft echoes of the newsies crying forty thousand men are dead along the Yser, his bronze ears listening to the mumbled roar of the city at his bronze feet.
A lithe Indian on a bronze pony, Shakespeare seated with long legs in bronze, Garibaldi in a bronze cape, they hold places in the cold, lonely snow to-night on their pedestals and so they will hold them past midnight and into the dawn.

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The Curtain by Hayden Carruth
Hayden Carruth
Just over the horizon a great machine of death is roaring and rearing.
We can hear it always. Earthquake, starvation, the ever-renewing sump of corpse-flesh.
But in this valley the snow falls silently all day, and out our window
We see the curtain of it shifting and folding, hiding us away in our little house,
We see earth smoothened and beautified, made like a fantasy, the snow-clad trees
So graceful. In our new bed, which is big enough to seem like the north pasture almost
With our two cats, Cooker and Smudgins, lying undisturbed in the southeastern and southwestern corners,
We lie loving and warm, looking out from time to time. “Snowbound,” we say. We speak of the poet
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Dust of Snow by Robert Frost
Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
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Excelsior by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
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Humoresque by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay
"Heaven bless the babe," they said.
"What queer books she must have read!"
(Love, by whom I was beguiled,
Grant I may not bear a child!)

"Little does she guess today
What the world may be," they say.
(Snow, drift deep and cover
Till the spring my murdered lover!)
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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 22 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The path by which we twain did go,
Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
Thro' four sweet years arose and fell,
From flower to flower, from snow to snow:

And we with singing cheer'd the way,
And, crown'd with all the season lent,
From April on to April went,
And glad at heart from May to May:

But where the path we walk'd began
To slant the fifth autumnal slope,
As we descended following Hope,
There sat the Shadow fear'd of man;

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The Inkspots by Gerald Stern
Gerald Stern
The thing about the dove was how he cried in
my pocket and stuck his nose out just enough to
breathe some air and get some snow in his eye and
he would have snuggled in but I was afraid
and brought him into the house so he could shit on
the New York Times, still I had to kiss him
after a minute, I put my lips to his beak
and he knew what he was doing, he stretched his neck
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Let It Be Forgotten by Sara Teasdale
Sara Teasdale
Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold,
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long forgotten snow.
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A Mad Fight Song for William S. Carpenter, 1966 by James Wright
James Wright
Varus, varus, gib mir meine Legionen wieder Quick on my feet in those Novembers of my loneliness,
I tossed a short pass,
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Misreading Housman by Linda Pastan
Linda Pastan
On this first day of spring, snow
covers the fruit trees, mingling improbably
with the new blossoms like identical twins
brought up in different hemispheres.
It is not what Housman meant
when he wrote of the cherry
hung with snow, though he also knew
how death can mistake the seasons,
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The Rites of Darkness by Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen
The sleds of the children
Move down the right slope.
To the left, hazed in the tumbling air,
A thousand lights smudge
Within the branches of the old forest,
Like colored moons in a well of milk.

The sleds of the children
Make no sound on the hard-packed snow.
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Safe in their Alabaster Chambers (124) by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untouched by Morning -
and untouched by noon -
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection,
Rafter of Satin and Roof of Stone -

Grand go the Years,
In the Crescent above them -
Worlds scoop their Arcs -
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A Shropshire Lad  2: Loveliest of trees, the cherry now by A. E. Housman
A. E. Housman
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
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The Snow Is Deep on the Ground by Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen
The snow is deep on the ground.
Always the light falls
Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.

This is a good world.
The war has failed.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the snow waits where love is.

Only a few go mad.
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The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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.
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The Stump by Donald Hall
Donald Hall
1.

Today they cut down the oak.
Strong men climbed with ropes
in the brittle tree.
The exhaust of a gasoline saw
was blue in the branches.

The oak had been dead a year.
I remember the great sails of its branches
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Triad by Adelaide Crapsey
Adelaide Crapsey

These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow. . the hour
Before the dawn. . the mouth of one
Just dead.

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The View from an Attic Window by Howard Nemerov
Howard Nemerov
for Francis and Barbara 1
Among the high-branching, leafless boughs
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Winter by Marie Ponsot
Marie Ponsot
I don’t know what to say to you, neighbor,
as you shovel snow from your part of our street
neat in your Greek black. I’ve waited for
chance to find words; now, by chance, we meet.

We took our boys to the same kindergarten,
thirteen years ago when our husbands went.
Both boys hated school, dropped out feral, dropped in
to separate troubles. You shift snow fast, back bent,
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Without Regret by Eleanor Wilner
Eleanor Wilner
Nights, by the light of whatever would burn:
tallow, tinder and the silken rope
of wick that burns slow, slow
we wove the baskets from the long gold strands
of wheat that were another silk: worm soul
spun the one, yellow seed in the dark soil, the other.

The fields lay fallow, swollen with frost,
expectant winter. Mud clung to the edges
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37
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The Wreck of the Hesperus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughtèr,
To bear him company.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.

The skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.

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44
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Year’s End by Richard Wilbur
Richard Wilbur
Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
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33
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