Poetry Friday {A Moment With Winter}

Lynedoch Crescent D 282

Relearning Winter

by Mark Svenvold

Hello Winter, hello flanneled

blanket of clouds, clouds

fueled by more clouds, hello again.

Hello afternoons,

off to the west, that silver

of sunset, rust-colored

and gone too soon.

And night (I admit to a short memory)

you climb back in with chilly fingers

and clocks, and there is no refusal:

ice cracks the water main, the garden hose

stiffens, the bladed leaves of the rhododendron

shine in the fog of a huge moon.

And rain, street lacquer,

oily puddles and spinning rubber,

mist of angels on the head of a pin,


and snow, upside-down cake of clouds,

white, freon scent, you build

even as you empty the world of texture —

hello to this new relief,

this new solitude now upon us,

upon which we feed.

Lynedoch Crescent D 278

I love the idea of feeding on solitude, or of being fed by solitude. I feel pretty isolated by winter, mainly because I have a low endurance for cold, and I really don’t want to go out and slip on the sidewalk – like last year, or go out and have to catch some roving Ick and have three weeks of some evil feverish haze — like last year — or otherwise have to admit that it’s cold and I feel helpless against something that seems vast and malicious. (I’m also isolated by the fact that I’m actually slightly insane for anthropomorphizing the weather.) I also don’t want to admit that somehow I’d tricked myself into believing that winter in Scotland was Oh, aye, nae tha bad.

Oh, aye it is. I’m from California, and I freely admit that I AM A WIMP. Winter here is simply hard for me to take, no matter my Pollyanna routine.

…So, I am relearning winter, as I always must, and at this point in the middle, where many of us are giving way to despair (I know some of the parents are, anyway. Will their children ever attend school again???), I am trying to find grace in the solitude, beauty in the cold, and more room on my bed for blankets.

Poetry Friday today is hosted by librarian Jone, head on over and Check It Out.

7 Replies to “Poetry Friday {A Moment With Winter}”

  1. Sherry: I reassure myself that I have only one more winter here before TechBoy finishes his Ph.D… only one more…

    But a Houston summer? Been there, done that, have the sweat-drenched t-shirt. Was only there for two days, but it was intense. Not nearly as bad as further Southeast, however!

  2. I'm from Texas–born and bred and never learned or relearned. Perhaps I've missed something, but then those who have never experienced a Houston summer have missed something, too.

    I thought since you enjoy poetry that I'd invite you to contribute your list of favorite poems to my survey. Read more about it here: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=9520

  3. Feels like this year I didn't "relearn" winter, I LEARNED it. For those of us raised in warm climes, it comes as a shock. But (crossing fingers), we may be turning the corner. My lawn has reappeared. The sun is out. The last storm missed us (except for a few winds). SO, I'm hopeful. I'm not in Scotland, but my home is drafty. Sigh.

  4. Laura: Thanks for dropping by! No, Scottish houses aren't necessarily drafty — although I live in a converted Georgian townhouse, and it's had a lot of its original architecture left in place – including single-paned windows… The real issue is that our boiler blew up so we are living with electric heaters and no hot water! Scottish houses are just fine; I'm sure Scottish castles are drafty, though. Doesn't stop me from wanting one, however…

    Farida: Perhaps when I am old, I shall embrace the cold, and become stunningly crochety about it, and chop wood myself. I can see that happening, being mad enough to hit things with sharp objects. And then: hey neato: fire! I'm annoyed by the cold here mostly because there is NOTHING I can do about it. At least Bede's papa had his fireplace.

    Mary Lee: Hola, Prima! I did notice – thanks for the heads up! I'm VERY excited about that one. Go, English Teachers!

  5. Bede's father thrived on cold. He complained about it, and it inspired him to chop wood, but I think he enjoyed it. Can you imagine? I cannot. I wish you health, warm covers, hot tea and spring.

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