The Polar Vortex is hanging tight over the Northeast, and I'm doing my best to not take it personally. After checking the long range forecast a couple days ago and seeing nothing but cold, snow, cold and more cold for the foreseeable future I took to Facebook and posted, "I need a poem."
More specifically, "...poems to exorcise despair, to commiserate this long harsh winter..."
Ask and ye shall receive. Links and whole poems began to fill up the comments and my email. So many delicious poems - Galway Kinnell, Marie Howe, Derek Walcott, Jorie Graham...even a humorous snippet from David Bowie and a work in progress from a poet friend in my inbox. It's hard to feel so bad about winter when friends are poem-bombing you. I highly recommend it.
For this week's inspiration, I chose The Snowman by Wallace Stevens shared by my friend M.
One must have a mind of winter
to regard the frost and the boughs
of the pine trees crusted with snow.
And have been cold a long time
to behold the the junipers shagged with ice
the spruces rough in the distant glitter
of the January sun; and not to think
of any misery in the sound of the wind,
in the sound of a few leaves,
which is the sound of the land
full of the same wind
that is blowing in the same bare place
for the listener, who listens in the snow,
and, nothing himself, beholds
nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.
This poem transports me back to my time living as a Buddhist in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont where I was often wrapped in a shawl, sitting in meditation while outside all was white and still. It was impossible to not have "a mind of winter" then.
Your word this week, should you choose to accept it, is:
Stay warm, and write like you mean it.