Buffy Silverman hosts today’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Buffy’s Blog .
The very first time I saw snow fall was on holiday as a child of eight. We had travelled by train to Kashmir, at the northernmost point of India, for our winter holidays. I remember being woken up early one morning as our train approached the station. Peering out of the window, I could see a sight I have now become both used to and exceedingly fond of – snow reflecting dawn’s light. All my memories of that holiday have to do with snow and what it looked like as it fell, and as it transformed all that it fell upon.
These days, I live in a snowy landscape for four months of the year. Although it presents all sorts of challenges and problems in this new, shepherd phase of my life, I am still enthralled with snow. Since the farm sits on a hill, I can see snowfall approaching from a distance, and that has to be my favorite winter experience of all. Sometimes, snowfall marches up the valley to us, sometimes it swoops down the back pasture, and sometimes it meanders over to us from the Green Mountains. Always, I am mesmerized.
Low clouds hang on the mountain.
The forest is filled with fog.
A short distance away the
Giant trees recede and grow
Dim. Two hundred paces and
They are invisible. All
Day the fog curdles and drifts.
The cries of the birds are loud.
They sound frightened and cold. Hour
By hour it grows colder.
Just before sunset the clouds
Drop down the mountainside. Long
Shreds and tatters of fog flow
Swiftly away between the
Trees. Now the valley below
Is filled with clouds like clotted
Cream and over them the sun
Sets, yellow in a sky full
Of purple feathers. After dark
A wind rises and breaks branches
From the trees and howls in the
Treetops and then suddenly
Is still. Late at night I wake
And look out of the tent. The
Clouds are rushing across the
Sky and through them is tumbling
The thin waning moon. Later
All is quiet except for
A faint whispering. I look
Out. Great flakes of wet snow are
Falling. Snowflakes are falling
Into the dark flames of the
Dying fire. In the morning the
Pine boughs are sagging with snow,
And the dogwood blossoms are
Frozen, and the tender young
Purple and citron oak leaves.