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March Slice of Life No. 1

On the valley floor, we’ve had pitifully little snow this winter. So when it was forecast off and on the past two weeks, a certain anticipation filled the air. Finally, on Tuesday, it began to snow. On Thursday, as I reflected on the snow event, I wrote about it.

Where’s the Snow?

Snow fell all day last Tuesday–
Tiny crystals that stung my cheeks
Powdery flakes that covered my shoulders
Wet doilies I caught on my tongue

Snow fell all day last Tuesday–
Driven by a howling wind
Then gusting upward, downward in a flurry
Finally drifting softly from cloud to earth

Snow fell all day last Tuesday–
Traffic on our hill did not slow
Sidewalks were not covered
Children did not come out to play

Snow fell all day last Tuesday–
Spreading thin blankets ov’r parked cars
Lightly painting my walnut’s branches
Carelessly dusting green grass white

Snow fell all day last Tuesday–
But at day’s end, no snowmen smiled at me
No snow angels rested on the ground
There was no snowballing, no sledding on the hill

Snow fell all day last Tuesday–
So, where’s the snow?

© 2019 Alice Nine

Snow track from boot — only trace of snow on back porch
Late Tuesday Afternoon

While I’m thinking and writing about snow for the last time this winter, I must share a James Russell Lowell favorite of mine: “The First Snowfall.” But before I share Lowell’s poem, I must share an excerpt from one of my treasures, a book titled Poets’ Homes:

Adjoining the grounds of Elmwood [Lowell’s home], … is a beautiful city of the dead, Mount Auburn. Screened by its loveliness and its silent watch are two of the poet’s children and his first wife. On the grave of his first-born he wrote that sweet, tender poem called “The First Snow,” …

Poets’ Homes, Pen and Pencil Sketches of American Poets and Their Homes by R. H. Stoddard and Others (1877)
Pen Sketch of James Russell Lowell’s Study at Elmwood

The First Snowfall
by James Russell Lowell (1819 – 1891)

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down,
And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snowbirds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-Father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
“The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her:
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.


March 2019 SOLC–Day 1
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers

This week’s
#PoetryFriday Roundup
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Poetry Friday Schedule Jan – June 2019