Alec Soth's Archived Blog

December 22, 2006

Friday Poem

Filed under: poetry,snow — alecsothblog @ 7:12 am

The main reason to have ‘Snow Week’ was to end it with this poem:

The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

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9 Comments

  1. I get it….like snow week. OK, that’s all well and good IF you have snow. Virtual snow just doesn’t cut it. HEre in the NE we have yet to see a snowflake. There will be no white Christmas this year. But being from Texas, I can live with that.

    Comment by Frank Armstrong — December 22, 2006 @ 9:45 am

  2. You mean … All along … My God, you are Kaiser Sothe!

    Among twenty snowy mountains,
    The only moving thing
    Was the eye of the black bird.

    Have a good holiday, everyone, but don’t wait up for any British visitors: here in the UK, we are having Fog Week, and all flights are grounded.

    Comment by Mike C. — December 22, 2006 @ 11:02 am

  3. nice words to end the week Alec. have a good holiday!

    Comment by ben — December 22, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

  4. I wish that this blog had a place to click and just somehow make the words and images transform into a nice not too heavy book maybe a Japanese-style softcover with great paper which I could hold in my hands or read lying on my back in bed turning the pages back and forth back and forth then click again it would fold up and go back into the virtual world. Everything about it feels more material than digital.

    Comment by Susan — December 22, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

  5. …nice idea…susan… i print it many times, so i can read it laying in my sofa…
    nice hollydays to everybody!!

    Comment by ruben — December 22, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

  6. In honor of snow week, I have chosen to share a poem by Emily Dickinson. I live on Dickinson St. and if this poem were an address it would be 2 and a half blocks from my house.
    ——

    The Snow that never drifts —
    The transient, fragrant snow
    That comes a single time a Year
    Is softly driving now —

    So thorough in the Tree
    At night beneath the star
    That it was February’s Foot
    Experience would swear —

    Like Winter as a Face
    We stern and former knew
    Repaired of all but Loneliness
    By Nature’s Alibi —

    Were every storm so spice
    The Value could not be —
    We buy with contrast — Pang is good
    As near as memory —

    Emily Dickinson
    #1133

    Comment by Zoe Strauss — December 22, 2006 @ 8:01 pm

  7. Thanks for the kind words Susan. And thanks for the poem Zoe. Here is yet another snow poem (and Christmas poem too!) for the Japanese-style softcover:

    December: Revisiting my old isolation room
    by Franz Wright

    Lit window-
    I know you’re still up
    there
    (in the past)
    where I left you

    Scrawny starlings building
    out of nothing hopeless shelter
    in the snowy corner of
    that window gone abruptly dark

    I freely stand here
    watching
    while you burn
    unheard
    among the screaming, the

    zombies, the pacers, the shit-fingerpainters and furious
    nocturnal soliloquists

    A bone-freezing wind blows. My mother
    always left a shot of whiskey out
    for Santa Claus, someone confides
    quietly
    close to my ear
    twenty years ago…

    I think someone had lighted a candle for me
    I am sure of it
    with so few plausible causes
    to justify the current
    and remarkably convincing
    impression of one of the normal
    with which I no (most days) present. But

    the unvisited

    in dark churches
    by their families now
    unmentioned:

    wind, cold wind, they blow the candles out and haunt Noel.

    Comment by Alec Soth — December 22, 2006 @ 9:56 pm

  8. Please don’t forget the old masters in the softcover book.

    This first fallen snow
    is barely enough to bend
    the jonquil leaves

    -Basho

    Comment by Clint Weathers — December 23, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

  9. Not a poem, but a consoling thought for the snowless Northeasterners this year (so far anyway…)

    ‘If every word spoken in New York City daily were somehow to materialize as a snowflake, each day there would be a blizzard.’

    Kenneth Goldsmith

    Comment by Mark S — December 23, 2006 @ 3:27 pm


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