Poem of the Week: Snow
What end of the snow spectrum do you fall on? Is it the bane of your existence–the shoveling, the cold, the messy boots and toddler snowpants, the slipping and sliding? Or is it the joy, sledding, unexpected days off, a reason to curl up inside or traipse into wonder, the white blanketed morning, a world transformed? Whether you love it or hate it, poet Elizabeth Tibbetts reminds us here what an astounding experience of the senses snow can be. We're so very used to it here in Maine, but how often do we stop to listen to it the sounds of it, notice the pure sensory details?
Tibbetts grew up in Camden. Though a nurse by profession, she has been published in many journals in addition to her own books, including the Bluestem Poetry Award-winning In the Well, where "Snow" can be found. We're lucky to count her as one of our own!
The old, blue-eyed woman in the bed
is calling down snow. Her heart is failing,
and her eyes are two birds in a pale sky.
Through the window she can see a tree
twinkling with lights on the banking
beyond the parking lot. Snow
will put things right; and, sure enough,
by four darkness carries in the first flakes.
Chatter, hall lights, and the rattle of walkers
spill through her doorway as she lies there—
ten miles (half a world) of ocean
between her and her home island.
She looks out from a bed the size of a dinghy.
Beyond the lit tree, beyond town, open water
accepts snow silently and, farther out,
the woods behind her house receive the snow
with a faint ticking of flakes striking needles
and dry leaves—a sound you would not believe
unless you've held your breath and heard it.
- Elizabeth Tibbetts
From In the Well