Tuesday, December 6, 2011

half-stripped trees and faint deputies of heat

It doesn't feel like winter yet, at least not down here in Philly. It's 60 degrees and rainy, which really cancels out the delight of warm weather.

But, in anticipation of the coming season, here's some winter poetry.

Approach of Winter
William Carlos Williams

The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
bending all,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
and fall
where the salvias, hard carmine--
like no leaf that ever was--
edge the bare garden.

Like Brooms of Steel (1252)
Emily Dickinson

Like Brooms of Steel
The Snow and Wind
Had swept the Winter Street --
The House was hooked
The Sun sent out
Faint Deputies of Heat --
Where rode the Bird
The Silence tied
His ample -- plodding Steed
The Apple in the Cellar snug
Was all the one that played.


  1. Yes, it's been warm and rainy all day here too. So that, although we're almost a full week into December, it still feels like Thomas Hood's "November" --

    No sun--no moon!
    No morn--no noon!
    No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
    No sky--no earthly view--
    No distance looking blue--

    No road--no street--
    No "t'other side the way"--

    ...just like the drive to and especially from work today.

    where the salvias, hard carmine--
    like no leaf that ever was--
    edge the bare garden.

    They do! Or, at least, they did. They lasted right up until a few days ago, with a positively unnatural red when everything else was brown and gray and dull green, and then they all died at once.

    I also like Williams's "Winter Trees" (glad that I don't have to rake any more leaves):

    All the complicated details
    of the attiring and
    the disattiring are completed!
    A liquid moon
    moves gently among
    the long branches.
    Thus having prepared their buds
    against a sure winter
    the wise trees
    stand sleeping in the cold.

  2. I have a postage stamp of a yard, so there aren't many leaves to rake, but yes. That's lovely.

    I'm ready for winter. I packed away my summer clothes, and now I want to wear my sweaters!