The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
Although the long, freezing winter nights and the crisp winter days tend to inspire harsh feelings among the people who endure them, not all poets see winter as a bleak and lifeless season. In Robert Frost’s “Dust of Snow,” a crow’s movements cause snow to dust the speaker passing under a tree, and this dust “Has given my heart / A change of mood / And saved some part / Of a day I had rued.” For other poets, the severe winter weather is a chance to speak in defiance of nature.
In “January,” William Carlos Williamsimplores the winter wind:
Play louder. You will not succeed. I am bound more to my sentences the more you batter at me to follow you.
Winter weather also provides many poets with an excuse to turn away from outdoor pastimes and instead to concentrate on renewing and affirming their human relationships. The poem “Now winter nights enlarge” by Thomas Campion, for example, celebrates human warmth amidst chilly weather:
Now winter nights enlarge This number of their hours; And clouds their storms discharge Upon the airy towers. Let now the chimneys blaze And cups o’erflow with wine, Let well-tuned words amaze With harmony divine... This time doth well dispense With lovers’ long discourse; Much speech hath some defense, Though beauty no remorse. All do not all things well: Some measures comely tread, Some knotted riddles tell, Some poems smoothly read. The summer hath his joys, And winter his delights; Though love and all his pleasures are but toys They shorten tedious nights.
Finally, many poets see winter as a fact of the landscape they call home, infusing it with nostalgia. For example, winter imagery figures largely in the works of the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. She writes about the city of Voronezh:
The city is caught in the grip of ice-- Trees, walls, snow, are as under glass. Over crystals, I and the patterned sleighs Go our separate, unsteady ways.
“The Getaway is irresistible, which is why so many of us come back year after year. It is the perfect mix of hard work, solitude, socializing, creativity and workshops guided by superb faculty. All this in a hotel with comfortable rooms, excellent food and the nicest staff imaginable.”
–– Patricia, Advanced Poetry Writing, Elkton, MD