Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Snow Man

Wallace Stevens

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.

1 comment:

dan said...

from Now and Then: The Poet's Choice Columns, 1997-2000 by Robert Hass

From the book's intro:

This is a book of poems and small essays about them written over a period of about two years. It came about because Nina King, then literary editor of the Washington Post, invited me to write a weekly column for the Post’s Book World, The idea was that I would, each week, select a poem and comment on it. The aim was to introduce poetry to people who had never read it at all; to reintroduce it to people who had read it in school but had gotten out of the habit and, having an impulse to find their way back to it, didn’t know where to start; and to give people who did read poetry some poems and ideas about poems to think about.

... I was surprised, rereading the assembled pieces, by how much it resembled a Book of Hours. The reader of it watches the year turn, and the form invites short readings, meditations to be undertaken daily or weekly in quiet times. And, of course, it would be pleasing to me if it were read this way, since that’s the way in which I myself read poetry.

I wrote the column this way because the sense of time in them is one of the things I like about newspapers.

... So this, it turns out, is a book about time.

Washington Post Book World

Poet's Choice archive: Washington Post: Poet's Choice.