Archives for posts with tag: snow

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Blizzard Sestina
by Charles Levenstein

We thought the end would be flood, a fire,
maybe something nuclear and quite unspeakable.
Snow, of course, never occurred to us,
not the acres that now blanket our city,
not in breathtaking flurries,
not in smothering blizzard.

Once I imagined cozy Christmas blizzards,
urbane wine mulling on a tended fire,
cosmopolitan laughter sprinkled in flurries;
to be stranded did not mean unspeakable,
whether rolling countryside or sparkling city,
cossetted affluence protected us.

Narcissus never conceived an “us,”
distant from limpid pool was the Arctic blizzard
and the bleak wint’ry streets of the city.
Imagine him drowning in fire!
Imagine sirens speaking the unspeakable!
Completion not with a bang but a flurry!

Real estate speculators were in a flurry –
Prices soared beyond the reach of most of us,
Unspoken deals remained unspeakable,
Ticker tape falling like confetti in a blizzard –
How to explain these snowy dunes set afire
by desperate search for warmth in the city?

As you may know, there can be comfort in the city;
the rush, the lights, even bistros are flurries —
a credit card, some cash, the intimacy of fire –
for the young in urban anonymity there’s an “us”
that overcomes windchill in the blizzard!
For others the streets are unspeakable –

Poets are called to speak the unspeakable!
To comprehend and reveal the cruelty of the city!
If in blind comfort we ignore the blizzard,
imagining the mountains of new ice and snow are flurries
incapable of freezing our friends and families – “us”–
who will interpret simmering revolutionary fire?

We who feel the fire and have learned about the unspeakable,
we perceive a re-discovered “us,” a suffering city:
the cries are not mere flurries, they foretell the blizzard.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I live in Brookline, Massachusetts, next to Boston — eight feet of snow and counting!  My daughter has sent me a set of snap-on metal cleats so I can go walking on days that the temperature stays above 10 degrees or so.  It’s beautiful, but I am old.

IMAGE: “Boston Blizzard” (Jan. 27, 2015), Reuters

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles (Chuck) Levenstein is a retired professor. Levenstein has been writing poems since he was 15 years old, but burned them every 10 years, some because of shyness about them, some because they were really awful. He began writing poems again in 2000, largely because Internet poetry forums were an easy vehicle for trying out new work and learning from other writers. He also had erratic sleeping habits – exacerbated by sleep apnea – and late-night sessions on the computer were easy. He also became a yoga student of the late Tom Stiles (Mukunda) and that cleared away a lot of debris. In 2001, he published a collection of poems, Lost Baggage, with Loom Press in Lowell, Massachusetts. In the subsequent years, he published poems in a raft of e-zines. He was the winner of some small prizes – from Flashquake and from MiPoesia for poems in a Goya contest and a bonsai contest. His work was featured in Gary Blankenship’s e-zine and in The Hiss Review and Loch Raven Review. He became involved heavily in the now defunct Poetry Niederngasse, an e-zine based in Zurich, became a contributing editor for PN, and wrote a regular poetry/rant called “Poems of World War III.” Many of these poems were collected in a book published with Lulu.com called Poems of World War III. Most recently, he published another smaller collection with Lulu.com called Animal Vegetable.

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WHITE OUT
by Joan Colby

We hit the white out just beyond the Virgil ditch.
A south wind blasting eight-foot drifts
Like a fireship exploding the armadas
Of January. A page of erased zeroes.
Today, it might get to 20, no melt but plenty
Of blowing to disguise what’s road
And what’s the verge, how to be stuck
And invisible.

Last week in such weather a semi
Jackknifed, then another, another, another
Swallowing cars, a multitude following
Faithfully as pilgrims to the disaster
Of the stampede. Finally, there were forty
Or more vehicles crushed and miles of traffic
Detained while the Jaws of Life were deployed.
Three dead including a man whose dog
Was thought to be a fatality but survived
To lick the hands of the first responders.

People we used to call firemen or cops
Rearticulated like weather once called storms
Now polar vortices. Naming something doesn’t change
Effect. We still stall where we thought
The road curved and it didn’t.
We’re still as lost.
The white out still blinds us.

IMAGE: “Whiteout conditions in Arlington Heights, Illinois (2011)” by Bill Zars, Staff Photographer, The Daily Herald (Illinois)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). One of her poems is a winner of the 2014 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 14 books, including Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press), which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize,  Properties of Matter (Aldrich Press, Kelsay Books), Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press), and The Wingback Chair (FutureCycle Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press. Visit her at joancolby.com.

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APRIL SNOW 
by Matthew Zapruder

Today in El Paso all the planes are asleep on the runway. The world
is in a delay. All the political consultants drinking whiskey keep
their heads down, lifting them only to look at the beautiful scarred
waitress who wears typewriter keys as a necklace. They jingle
when she brings them drinks. Outside the giant plate glass windows
the planes are completely covered in snow, it piles up on the wings.
I feel like a mountain of cell phone chargers. Each of the various
faiths of our various fathers keeps us only partly protected. I don’t
want to talk on the phone to an angel. At night before I go to sleep
I am already dreaming. Of coffee, of ancient generals, of the faces
of statues each of which has the eternal expression of one of my feelings.
I examine my feelings without feeling anything. I ride my blue bike
on the edge of the desert. I am president of this glass of water.

SOURCE: “April Snow” appears in Matthew Zapruder’s collection Come on All You Ghosts. (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Snowflakes and Sakura Blossoms,” available free at this link.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matthew Zapruder is the author of several collections of poetry, including Come On All You Ghosts (2010), The Pajamaist (2006), and American Linden (2002). With Brian Henry, Zapruder co-founded Verse Press, which later became Wave Books. As an editor for Wave Books, Zapruder co-edited, with Joshua Beckman, the political poetry anthology State of the Union: 50 Political Poems (2008). His own poems have been included in the anthologies Best American Poetry (2009), Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll (2007), and Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006), as well as Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook (2010). Zapruder’s honors include a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a 2008 May Sarton Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at the New School; the University of California Riverside, Palm Desert; and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Juniper Summer Writing Institute. He lives in San Francisco, where he is also a guitarist in the rock band The Figments.

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YEAR’S END
by Matsuo Basho

Year’s end,
all corners
of this floating world, swept.

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THE SNOW ANGEL
by Cindy Lynn 

I giggle and fall 
In the drift of crystal white 
Snow Angel appears 

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WInter Haiku
by Matsuo Basho

On the polished surface
of the divine glass,
Chaste with flowers of snow. 

Photo: Blue ice and snowflakes.

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DECEMBER MOON
by May Sarton

Before going to bed

After a fall of snow

I look out on the field

Shining there in the moonlight

So calm, untouched and white

Snow silence fills my head

After I leave the window.


 
Hours later near dawn

When I look down again

The whole landscape has changed

The perfect surface gone

Criss-crossed and written on

Where the wild creatures ranged

While the moon rose and shone.


 
Why did my dog not bark?

Why did I hear no sound

There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?


 
How much can come, how much can go

When the December moon is bright,

What worlds of play we’ll never know

Sleeping away the cold white night

After a fall of snow.

Painting: Phoenix Arts Group, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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CHRISTMAS AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD (Excerpt)
by Ernest Hemingway

  …Paris with the snow falling. Paris with the big charcoal braziers outside the cafes, glowing red. At the cafe tables, men huddled, their coat collars turned up, while they finger glasses of grog Americain and the newsboys shout the evening papers.
     The buses rumble like green juggernauts through the snow that sifts down in the dusk. White house walls rise through the dusky snow. Snow is never more beautiful than in the city. It is wonderful in Paris to stand on a bridge across the Seine looking up through the softly curtaining snow past the grey bulk of the Louvre, up the river spanned by many bridges and bordered by the grey houses of old Paris to where Notre Dame squats in the dusk.
     It is very beautiful in Paris…at Christmas time.

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Note: Ernest Hemingway wrote “Christmas at the Roof of the World” in 1923, when he was living in Paris and working as a correspondent for the Toronto Star. Find the story in BY-LINE ERNEST HEMINGWAY: Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades, available at Amazon.com.

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WINTER MORNING WALKS
by Ted Kooser

Just as a dancer, turning and turning,
may fill the dusty light with the soft swirl
of her flying skirts, our weeping willow –
now old and broken, creaking in the breeze –
turns slowly, slowly in the winter sun,
sweeping the rusty roof of the barn
with the pale blue lacework of her shadow.

Photo: K&D Graphics, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” DYLAN THOMAS, A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

Photo: “Zensnowman” by Kyle Miron, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED