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Tag Archives: winter

January 74th

 

I heard someone say the other day that it felt like January 74th.  I find January and February in Maine to be trying.  I don’t ski, my cold tolerance is definitely decreasing with age, and it makes me cross to wobble around on icy surfaces.  In that rather crabby vein, I offer a sour, wonderful poem by Amy Gerstler (copyright by the poet, of course).

 

A Severe Lack of Holiday Spirit

 

I dread the icy white concussion

of winter.  Each snowfall demands

panic, like a kidnapper’s hand

clapped over my chapped mouth.

Ice forms everywhere, a plague

of glass.  Christmas ornaments’

sickly tinkle makes my molars ache.

One pities the anemic sun

come January.  Trees go skeletal.

Children born in the chilly months

are apt to stammer.  People hit

the sauce in a big way all winter.

Amidst blizzards they wrestle

unsuccessfully with the dark comedy

of their lives, laughter trapped

in their frigid gizzards.  Meanwhile,

the mercury just plummets,

like a migrating duck blasted

out of the sky by some hunter

in a cap with fur earflaps.trees in snow apple

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BARE BRANCHES

Here in southern Maine we had an unusually snowy November.  Many of us didn’t have time to rake leaves before the snow came.  Here is a timely short poem by William Carlos Williams.

Warm holiday wishes to all.

 

WINTER TREES

 

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.

snowy branches

Winter beats us down in New England

snowy trees

Truman C with cat

Everyone is tired and crabby after the past month or so of snow, bitter cold and more snow. Boston is a big mess that is making national news. Here in southern Maine we are not paralyzed to that extent, but driving is treacherous and we’re running out of places to put snow. Tonight into Sunday another 12-15″ is predicted, with 50mph+ winds. I went to my town library yesterday and stocked up for the long weekend with books and a movie.

Here is a photo of my late cousin Truman Capote with a cat – I have a collection of photos of writers with their pets and will keep throwing them in randomly. Capote has been on my mind since the hoopla over the pending release of his friend Harper Lee’s sequel to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I can’t help but wonder what Capote would think of all this, or of the book itself. His original last name was Persons; my father’s cousin Archie was his father. Truman’s mother later married Mr. Capote and changed the boy’s name. I never met him, but am a long time admirer of his writing.

Here is a short winter poem by Thomas Campion (1576-1620)

Now the winter nights enlarge
The numbers of their hours
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups overflow with wine;
Let well turned words amaze
With harmony divine.

We got through January with the help of books

Mathiessen with cat

cat books

Here is the late writer Peter Matthiessen with a cat. And a feline doing research.

After an easy December with little snow, New Englanders were hit with three big snowstorms in a row at the end of January. And 6-10 more inches are predicted for tomorrow, at least in southern Maine. I’m still digging out and neatening up the walkways. Thank goodness for the library. I recently read two notably good books: THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich and THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER, a collection of stories by Hilary Mantel. Erdrich’s novels are always rewarding, rich with native American wisdom, family history and humor. I really liked Mantel’s twisted, often dark stories. I want to read her WOLF HALL and sequels.

Consolations during this frigid, trying time of year include a fireplace, comfort food like mashed potatoes, stew and homemade bread, email with faraway friends, my cats and dog, “Downton Abbey” and other good things on TV, but most of all, books. I hope you have a big pile of them at your house.