By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet
There’s no denying it: soon, we will have real winter, which often brings big snow. Last year when we had our blizzard, I was struck by the tranquility of our “snow days.” I think it was one of the only times the schools were closed for two days in a row. Here is a poem celebrating the kind of snow that silences everything.
Listen to the Snow
The summer sedum slump, bedraggled by a bedlam of new snow,
snow so thick it bends the large lilacs and topples prairie grass.
At last, the city is perfectly quiet, its recent crime wave on hold,
snow a better antidote to violence than all the men with guns.
A blizzard brings out the best in neighbors. This minute Anthony,
snow still falling gently on his blue parka, shovels the driveway
of our oldest resident, here on our quaint street where maples hold snow on their bare limbs. Everything is closed. We settle in,
reconfiguring our day to meet the snow’s agenda. Today
snow is the Boss of Everything: school, traffic, appointments,
meetings, choirs, trysts, operations, helicopters, vacations obey
snow’s sweet command: Stop everything you are doing. Be still.
Adjust your entire day, so says the snow. Finish that book,
snow says. Be kind to your neighbors and pets. Fill the bird feeder.
Clear your desk. Call your mother. Write this poem. Learn to wait,
snow says. Listen to the glorious complete quiet of this day.
Tomorrow, when the city has done its best to rid the pestilence of
snow, when we’ve had enough of snowmen and hot chocolate,
tomorrow, when things get back to normal, whatever that may be,
snow’s sweet quiet will linger for a moment, then melt into
the day’s business as usual. But in your bones you know
snow transforms like a powerful meditation, a great reminder
that there’s something to be said for that slow silence
snow bestows on anyone who cares to listen to the snow.
Published in Severson Dells Newsletter, Fox Cry Review, and Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar.
Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet.
From the Jan. 4-10, 2012, issue