From the Pacific Northwest – Part LVIII

A Poem for Today

“An Old Man’s Winter Night”
By Robert Frost

All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him—at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off;—and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon,—such as she was,
So late-arising,—to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man—one man—can’t fill a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It’s thus he does it of a winter night.

frost

Art for Winter: Claude Monet

Below – “The Magpie”

monet

Art for Winter: Vincent van Gogh

Below – “Landscape in the Snow”

vangogha

Art for Winter: John Nieto

Below – “Buffalo in the Snow”

nietoa

Musings in Winter: Henry James Slack

“Winter should not be considered as only negation and destruction. It is a secret and inward working of powers, which in spring will burst into visible activity.”

slack

Art for Winter: Leonid Afremov

Below – “Lost in Winter”

afremov

Art for Winter: Vincent van Gogh

Below – “Miners in the Snow: Winter”

vangoghb

Art for Winter: John Nieto

Below – “Deer in Snow II”

nietob

A Second Poem for Today

“The Curtain”
By 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
Who lived with his young housekeeper long ago in the mountains of the western province, the kingdom
Of cruelty, where heads fell like wilted flowers and snow fell for many months
Across the pass and drifted deep in the vale. In our kitchen the maple-fire murmurs
In our stove. We eat cheese and new-made bread and jumbo Spanish olives
Which have been steeped in our special brine of jalapeños and garlic and dill and thyme.
We have a nip or two from the small inexpensive cognac that makes us smile and sigh.
For a while we close the immense index of images that is our lives—for instance,
The child on the Mescalero reservation in New Mexico sitting naked in 1966 outside his family’s hut,
Covered with sores, unable to speak. But of course we see the child every day,
We hold out our hands, we touch him shyly, we make offerings to his implacability.
No, the index cannot close. And how shall we survive? We don’t and cannot and will never
Know. Beyond the horizon a great unceasing noise is undeniable. The machine,
Like an immense clanking vibrating shuddering unnameable contraption as big as a house, as big as the whole town,
May break through and lurch into our valley at any moment, at any moment.
Cheers, baby. Here’s to us. See how the curtain of snow wavers and then falls back.

Log cabin in falling snow

Art for Winter: Peter Brueghel the Younger

Below – “”Winter Landscape”

brueghel

Musings in Winter: John Geddes

“I pray this winter be gentle and kind–a season of rest from the wheel of the mind.”

geddes

Art for Winter: Vincent van Gogh

Below – “Field on Winter”

vangoghc

Musings in Winter: Yoko Ono

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”

ono

Art for Winter: Hiroshige

Below – “Night Snow at Kambara”

hiroshige

A Third Poem for Today

“The Snow Is Deep on the Ground”
By 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.
The sky moves in its whiteness
Like the withered hand of an old king.   
God shall not forget us.
Who made the sky knows of our love.

The snow is beautiful on the ground.   
And always the lights of heaven glow   
Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.

patchen

Art for Winter: John Nieto

Below – “Mexican Gray Wolf Hunting in the Snow”

nietoc

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Winter Love”
By Linda Gregg

I would like to decorate this silence,   
but my house grows only cleaner
and more plain. The glass chimes I hung   
over the register ring a little
when the heat goes on.
I waited too long to drink my tea.   
It was not hot. It was only warm.

gregg

Musings in Winter: Edith Sitwell

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

sitwell

Art for Winter: Edvard Munch

Below – “New Snow in the Avenue”

munch

Art for Winter: Caspar David Friedrich

Below – “The Sea of Ice”

friedrich

A Fifth Poem for Today

“White-Eyes”
By Mary Oliver

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he’s restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.

So, it’s over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he’s done all he can.

I don’t know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—

which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.

oliver

Musings in Winter: John Burroughs

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.”

burroughs

Art for Winter: John Nieto

Below – “Spirit Talk”

nietod

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