Birds of a Feather

Poetry Corner: First Snow December 13, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,The everyday — kcfeather @ 2:41 am

This past Sunday morning, we were at the Lessons & Carols service at our church. Partway through the sermon, I turned slightly to the windows and saw: snow! It was early – all the forecasts said it was not supposed to arrive until much later that afternoon. The snow continued to fall throughout the service, and then started falling heavier as we headed out (it was falling fast enough that after stopping for thirty minutes for lunch – pho – we nearly had to dig the car out before slowly driving back home). The snow in the city is not the same as the snow that Mary Oliver describes, but the first snow is the first snow, wherever you are – and the calm and (relative) silence are special.


Our window box, early afternoon

First Snow
Mary Oliver

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence 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.

Near the river, at 5 pm

Near the river, at 5 pm


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