Listening in the snow

Wallace Stevens is the closest thing we have to a local poet around here. He wasn’t born in the area, but he lived in Connecticut for most of his productive adult life. He was an American Modernist poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1955, shortly before his death.

I’m honestly not generally a huge fan of his work overall. I like the wording but I’m not big on abstract poetry. However, I always liked one of the poems that we’d read in class. In honor of the snow we finally got (though we did come by the poor driving conditions I didn’t want) and in hopes that the next batch just as pretty but rather kinder:

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.

— from Harmonium , 1923

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