Monday, November 11, 2013

Today's poem by Mary Oliver

November


The snow
began slowly, 
a soft and easy
sprinkling

of flakes, then clouds of flakes
in the baskets of the wind
and the branches
of the trees -

oh, so pretty.
We walked
through the growing stillness,
as the flakes

prickled the path,
then covered it,
then deepened
as in curds and drifts,

as the wind grew stronger,
shaping its work
less delicately,
taking greater steps

over the hills
and through the trees
until, finally,
we were cold,

and far from home.
We turned
and followed our long shadows back
to the house,

stamped our feet,
went inside, and shut the door.
Through the window
we could see

how far away it was to the gates of April.
Let the fire now
put on its red hat
and sing to us.

Mary Oliver
from Why I Wake Early, 2004

26 comments:

  1. I've never really known this kind of winter, but the last few lines "Through the window we could see .... how far away it was to the gates of April .... are just so beautiful. Through them I can easily imagine how the beginning of a long winter would feel (and how lovely that fire would be!).

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    1. I was reading along, and when I came to that line I caught my breath - I thought it so wonderful. She is just the.best.poet!

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  2. First really frosty morning here for us, with temperatures just below 0 (Celsius, I mean), but I hope it'll be a while yet before our first snow.

    Nan, I wonder whether you can help me in trying to locate a book review I read on one of the blogs I am following, maybe it was you? I can not find a "search" button for your blog, so I need to ask: Have you ever mentioned an author named Giles Anreae (or Andreae, I am not sure about the spelling)? Google only shows me children's books by one Giles Andreae, but that is not the author I am looking for.

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    1. My search button is in the upper left hand corner. Gosh I hope it shows up for you! I'm not the one who wrote about Giles.

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    2. I can't see your search button - I can't see mine, either, although I KNOW it is there, and I have checked my blog settings and layout to make sure I have not inadvertedly taken the search option off my blog... strange, that!
      Anyway, thank you for getting back to me on this.

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  3. Brrrr Makes me cold reading this. No snow here yet. It is cold enough to have some but the ground is warm enough that it won't stick.

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    1. We had a couple really cold days mid-week, but it is warmer now.

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  4. How beautiful and so simply stated - the best kind of artistry, I think. Thanks for this -
    Mary

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    1. You've described just why I love her work so much.

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  5. Mary Oliver is just the best. I have walked that walk many times, and savored the "red hat" of the fire upon my return. Thank you for sharing, Nan. A perfect choice for the day. We have been "dusted over" by snow these past few days. Just enough to make footprints and shallow snow angels.

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  6. I like this poem - I must remember to find some more of Mary Oliver's work. First frosty day here these morning - everyone was scraping ice off their windscreens. No snow yet where we are, but some places further north have already had some, and I gather November falls are predicted for the Midlands. I hope the fprecasters have gopt it wrong.

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    1. I love her work. If you click on the 'poems' tab under the blog header picture, and scroll down to her name, you'll find quite a few.

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  7. So lovely. It has a very soothing tone which I like. Thanks, Nan.

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    1. Her tone is so often soothing to me. A gentle, kindly spirit.

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  8. Love this poem! Reminds me of taking long winter walks by my grandmother's house in Vermont. When I was growing up in Maine, I also had walks in winter but they were usually to and from school, not just to walk.

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  9. Whenever I read a poem by Mary Oliver, I feel like I'm invited into the poem. I'm there, walking and feeling the snow and cold and then the warmth of home again. I love how she surprises the reader with "gates of April" suddenly turning the poem into a commentary on the passage of time. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. You have the best way of putting things. I've marveled again and again.

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  10. Do you know what? I think I 'need' a Mary Oliver poem every day. This was exquisite. And coincidentally I have posted one of her poems on my latest blog post. Thank you.

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    1. I've meant to get over ever since I saw the dog picture. Am afraid it is sad though. I'll stop in tomorrow. My copy of Dog Songs just arrived!

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  11. I'm not sure I had ever heard of Mary Oliver before reading your blog, but now that I've seen a few of her poems here, I think she might be my favorite poet.

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    1. That's really wonderful. And I think she is mine as well.

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  12. Love this poem, definitely paints a picture, quite different from my locale. We head tomorrow to near-by neighborhood park where a free outdoor Jazz and Blues Festival will take place with temps of lower 70's.

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    1. Wow. Amazing. As I write this reply, it is 26º. :<)

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  13. I really enjoy Mary Oliver's poetry. I love the simplicity of her poems, and how she writes about nature. Her poems are so peaceful, and pleasant. Great poem by Mary Oliver.

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