This last Tuesday I woke to snow covering my yard. For some of you, it is a pretty normal winter occurrence. But for me living in the coastal mountains of Northern California, it is rare. We do get an occasional winter snow flurry but it rarely sticks to the ground. Therefore, I was pretty excited finding a white blanket over everything and I wanted to capture it. I grabbed my phone, stepped through my front door and took a few photos. But when I looked at them, I saw none of the uniqueness I knew was before me. I am not a photographer, my camera is my phone. Looking down I noticed snow on the Rosemary bush next to me. It glistened and the colors were so vivid, I was compelled to stoop down and take a couple of close up photos. It is just an ordinary plant from which I pluck a tender sprig whenever I need Rosemary for cooking. I've never really looked at it closely before. With the clusters of sparkling snow resting on the wet, green needles and surrounding sapphire blue blooms, the ordinary became extraordinary.
This is what poets do, find the extraordinary in the ordinary. We work to sharpen and expand our skills of observation. Instead of the blurred landscape, we stoop down and look closely at the shape and color of the Rosemary sprig. And at the same time we tap into our past experiences, things we've seen, read, heard, felt and blend it with the details of our awareness, creating unique images.
Depending on where one resides, winter can be as diverse as knee deep snow banks, slashing relentless rain or a sandy sunny beach. Winter provides its own special images, we as writers have the opportunity to grasp and convert our surroundings into words so that others may see our world. Here are a few winter poems that are as diverse as the poets who wrote them.
Winter Trees by W.C. Williams
Winter Song by Wilfed Owens
The browns, the olives, and the yellows died,
And were swept up to heaven; where they glowed
Each dawn and set of sun till Christmastide,
And when the land lay pale for them, pale-snowed,
Fell back, and down the snow-drifts flamed and flowed.
From off your face, into the winds of winter,
The sun-brown and the summer-gold are blowing;
But they shall gleam with spiritual glinter,
When paler beauty on your brows falls snowing,
And through those snows my looks shall be soft-going.
Winter by Robert Southey
California Winter - by Karl Shapiro
Scotland's Winter by Edward Muir
More winter poems found right here at Poetry Magnum Opus.
Yarnspinner's Winter on the Hill and Snow Storm and eclipse's mountain leopard
Douglas's Cold Love , Tony's January and Winnipeg and Badger's Red Sled
My own Crystal Clear, and for fun Rosemary on a Rare Winter Morning, haiku # 7, haiku #8, Six More Weeks and Super Blood Wolf Moon
Do you have a favorite winter poem you'd like to share here? Or better yet, one of your own perhaps? We can travel the world reading winter images together.
~~Tink aka Judi Van Gorder