The winter of our discontent needs some flowers

The commuter boat from my little town got stuck in the ice in Boston harbor yesterday morning.

Later, parts of the roof collapsed at the grammar school that our kids attended.

Last night, a couple of guys we hired spent two hours in near-zero weather clearing our roof to prevent it from collapsing after the snow and freezing rain that’s coming tonight.

We need to see some flowers from Tom Whelan.  Like a New England aster:

And a bouganvillea:

We will ignore all his very fine photos of ice crystals.

Fire and Ice

It’s starting to feel like the end times around here.  The heart of our downtown area is closed off because the weight of the snow caused a building to collapse.  I went to a grocery store yesterday, and it was closed — because of structural damage, I assume.  So I went to another grocery store, and couldn’t get into the parking lot.  And today…another blizzard.  The path I have shoveled so many times is disappearing yet again.

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Here are the icicles on my house. I’d go knock ’em down, but the snow is too deep for me to get to them.

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. . . which reminds me of Robert Frost’s poem (first published in 1920) about the end times.  (Today, I’m betting on ice.)

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

This is my last snow poem

The South Shore of Massachusetts, where I live, seems to have caught the brunt of the latest in our endless stream of snowstorms. Here’s my backyard, with the snow almost up to the top of that fence.

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And here’s my driveway, looking across to my neighbor’s driveway:

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Once upon a time I liked snow and I posted poems about it.  Well, I just have one poem left.  It was written by my son, back when he was young and cute and innocent, before we all learned about how evil snow is.  It’s called “First Snow”:

I enjoy the first snow,
Even when other don’t,
The benches are layered white,
Everything changes overnight,
Snow puffed out like cotton candy,
Untouched by human feet,
Everything is perfect,
After the first snow.

He now needs to write a sequel called “Eleventy-First Snow” or something.  Let’s find out how perfect everything is then.

The more it snows (Tiddely pom)

Eight p.m. and it’s still snowing.  We shoveled a while ago, but it doesn’t seem worth the effort.  The plows are undoubtedly coming back, and we’ll have to do it again.

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This is probably our favorite snow poem, by A.A. Milne.  We would recite it to our kids whenever it snowed, and I think eventually they started looking at us funny.

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing.

And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.

The Snow-Storm

Still snowing in my neck of the woods.

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Emerson wrote this poem in 1841, about 30 miles from where I’m sitting by my radiant fireplace, in a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden’s end.
The steed and traveler stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind’s masonry
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structure, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

Snow is general . . .

We’re in the middle of a blizzard hereabouts:

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So it’s a good time to read the last paragraph of James Joyce’s “The Dead” (as if there were a bad time):

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, on the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.