Sunday 22 December 2019

A Mind of Winter

There's no snow in prospect here in rain-lashed sodden England, so we can only cultivate 'a mind of winter' and look to poetry for something white and seasonal – and, in this case, glittering with enigmatic beauty. It's Wallace Stevens's great short poem of 1921, The Snow Man

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 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.

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