First Snow

Snowball snow.  Heavy and wet.  I thought as I slipped my way out to the car that Andy, the principal of our neighborhood elementary school, would hate this snow.  First snow.  Snowball snow.

My girls would love this.  But I had to drive in it.  I picked up my carpool buddy, and we headed to school, and I knew that both of us were less than thrilled about the snow.  Our AM text exchange went like this:

Me: On my way. Obtw snow.

Steve: No.

Me: Whatever

Steve: Men

Me: Flake

Our workshop day

No kids at school today, and my colleague was sorry that she couldn’t recite Mary Oliver’s First Snow to all of her classes.  So we began the workshop with her recitation:


The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain-not a single
answer has been found-
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

And so we settled into our rhetoric (not white) and I wished for flakes and men and snowballs.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul C. says:

    They say be sensitive to the sound of poetry, that and its imagery. There are so many lines to cherish – white rhetoric, oracular fever, and the revelation provided by the hushed scene outside. What a wonderful poem!

  2. Kate Tabor says:

    @Paul – I know, isn’t it beautiful? Though when Bonnie recited it yesterday I heard different things than when I read it myself. My favorite internal moment is the end when Oliver says that although all the questions of the day remain unanswered that walking at night, between the snow and stars, feels like an answer. Perfect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s