Monday, January 30, 2006

Snow and snow


I was saving the posting of this lovely poem by Ted Hughes for this year's first day of snow here in Bucks, England, where I live now and where snow is not that unusual. But something amazing has happened and I've decided to post it now instead: for the first time in 52 years, yesterday it snowed in Lisbon and in most of Portugal! True, what little snow fell almost immediately melted away, but it still was reported "LIVE FROM LISBON" with immense enthusiasm by friends and relatives. Even I, who am familiar with real snow since my Ohio years, felt thrilled on seeing the pictures of snow flurries falling on the familiar and usually very warm streets of Lisbon where I used to lead my life just a couple of years ago. We're all glad it doesn't happen that often, though: the country is not prepared for it and it almost came to a halt yesterday with closed motorways, mobile network failures, closed ports, people stuck in cars in the snow and a lot of accidents.

SNOW AND SNOW

by Ted Hughes

Snow is sometimes a she, a soft one.
Her kiss on your cheek, her finger on your sleeve
In early December, on a warm evening,
And you turn to meet her, saying "It''s snowing!"
But it is not. And nobody''s there.
Empty and calm is the air.

Sometimes the snow is a he, a sly one.
Weakly he signs the dry stone with a damp spot.
Waifish he floats and touches the pond and is not.
Treacherous-beggarly he falters, and taps at the window.
A little longer he clings to the grass-blade tip
Getting his grip.

Then how she leans, how furry foxwrap she nestles
The sky with her warm, and the earth with her softness.
How her lit crowding fairylands sink through the space-silence
To build her palace, till it twinkles in starlight—
Too frail for a foot
Or a crumb of soot.

Then how his muffled armies move in all night
And we wake and every road is blockaded
Every hill taken and every farm occupied
And the white glare of his tents is on the ceiling.
And all that dull blue day and on into the gloaming
We have to watch more coming.

Then everything in the rubbish-heaped world
Is a bridesmaid at her miracle.
Dunghills and crumbly dark old barns are bowed in the chapel of her sparkle.
The gruesome boggy cellars of the wood
Are a wedding of lace
Now taking place.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This poem really is beautiful.
I am doing a comparitive essay on this, alongside "To Autumn" by Keats. I typed in "Snow and Snow" into google, and accidently found your site. I love it.

Anonymous said...

personification at its best. A beautiful poem.

Anonymous said...

It is first snow here and I am posting this, at last. January 2013. The Celtic Consort "sings" this poem. Lovely.