Snow Angels

I used to write poems. In fact, it was a poem I wrote in second grade that gave rise to the very first words of encouragement I ever received for my writing. My teacher, the wonderful Mrs. Wagonner, praised me to the point of embarrassment and had me write my poem on a posterboard, which she put up on the wall where all the class could see it. To a kid as hungry for recognition as I was, this was all the incentive I needed to keep writing.

Back then I thought that poems should rhyme, and I’d spend hours trying to fit a rhyming word into a poem, like a puzzle piece that you keep turning around and around to see if it fits. It was years before I realized that the point of a poem is not necessarily the rhyme. But even then, I’d usually find a way to sneak that rhyme in there somewhere.

But it’s been a while since I wrote a poem. I’ve come to realize that perhaps I’m destined to be a writer of prose, not poetry. I don’t even understand most of the poems I see published these days, so I figure the fact that my poems are easily accessible is probably one of many strikes against me.

But I thought I’d put one of my earlier efforts up just to show that once upon a time I loved snow. I welcomed snow. I found it to be magical and wondrous. Partly because in the Raleigh area (where we used to live), it was so rare. But also because, back then, I saw it through the eyes of my young children.

This poem was written the way it happened on that snowy morning except for the fact that I really didn’t run outside in my nightgown in the snow. (What, do you think I’m crazy???) :-) But I did sort of run outside in my heart, and I did feel joy and I did feel grateful for the sweet pleasure of watching my children in the snow.

So, along with a few more photos I took of our recent snow event (as the weather people like to call it), here’s my Paean to Snow and Innocence and Wonder:

Snow Angels

Their high voices woke her
Like the chatter of baby birds.
“Mommy, it snowed, it snowed!”
And their excitement stirred
Faint memories of a time
When miracles occurred
On a daily basis.

A flurry and blur of coats and caps
Before they tumble like kittens
Into the freshly-fallen snow
From pockets fall forgotten mittens
To lie like crocuses against the white.
Small footprints mark snow like a letter written
Of thanksgiving and praise to God.

Snowflakes sparkle like glitter
In the bright slant of first light,
Transforming the world with soft crystals.
In the cold warm voices call to invite
Her, still nightgowned, into the silver morning.
She laughs as she runs—a snow angel in flight–
Cleansed and purified by ice.  

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19 Responses to “Snow Angels”

  1. wesleyjeanne Says:

    I live this poem! Absolutely perfect–and the first photo goes so well with it.

    Pshaw on inaccessible poems being the only publishable ones: Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Wendell Berry, Ted Kooser!!! All accessible and all great and wonderful poets, like you.

  2. Jes Says:

    Don’t worry, even people (like me) who choose poetry as a path don’t understand most of what’s being published today. Your poem is beautiful & the rhymes take such skill! It reminds me a lot of Hardy’s better (and coincidentally almost all about nature) poems. If you haven’t read Brendan Galvin yet, you should see if he’s at a library near you. A great nature poet (writes a lot about birds) hailing from the New England coast.

  3. southernlady64 Says:

    I enjoyed your poem and the pictures, too. My kids used to love making snow angels. I even have pictures of the girls somewhere lying in the snow when they were young. The birds are probably having a hard time this year finding food with all the cold and snow. I keep my stale bread for them. They seem to love it. We are supposed to get above freezing tomorrow for the first time in a long time and I am ready for a change!

  4. Betsy from Tennessee Says:

    The poem is fabulous, Beth… You are just so talented. I’ve read about Snow Angels today –and it made me think of us humans making Snow Angels in the snow –but it also made me think of the little birdie angels. You got some great pictures!!!!

    The other thing I read today was about Snow Cream… Do you all make that???? I haven’t in years and years–but like it.

    Thanks for a great post, Beth.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

  5. eemilla@yahoo.com Says:

    Waking to snow still puts a smile on my face, and seeing the world blanketed in those soft white flakes is so enchanting. Last week when it snowed, it was so cold the flakes really did look like little crystals sparkling as they fell and blew away. Thanks for loving snow and posting this poem even after you had such a rough New Years. Hope Benjamin is doing well.

  6. Sharon Says:

    I can only echo what WesleyJeanne has said about accessibility. Our favorite poets are our favorites because they ARE accessible. The only thing I can add to this that others haven’t already said and I’m not sure you know about me: I also started out with poems that rhymed, and my own splashy debut in 3rd grade was a poem called “Shadows.” Through the years I have written quite a few more, but almost always when I was sad or in a bittersweet state. So maybe it’s a good sign that my poetry-writing days seem to be tapering off….I would love to read more of yours!

  7. Benjamin Says:

    I really like the poem…and you know I love the photos (even if I don’t know why the Field Sparrow has only befriended you).

  8. Debi Kelly Van Cleave Says:

    It was my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Marley, who got excited about my writing. And therefore excited me.

    Poems. I don’t know. I have to admit that I don’t like poetry. Other than yours Beth!

  9. Jayne Says:

    I started writing in earnest during the period of The Waltons TV show. I loved how John Boy narrated and wrote, and I used to try to emulate that style of writing. I think I was maybe 10? :c) I also always felt as if my poetry had to rhyme in some way, but eventually moved towards just using words from my heart. I have not written poetry for years, and like you, sometimes shake my head in confusion when I read poetry that others rave about as I just don’t “get” it.
    I love this poem Beth. I can read it and put myself in it. That is what matters more to me. It’s visual, it’s beautiful…

  10. june Says:

    A wonderful poem Beth. Funny how things that are novel to us make for such happy impressions…it’s hard to maintain a “child’s view” throughout our lives…what with all that gets piled onto them…but it’s always been something I’ve tried to do. Photos and writings often help re-mind me. Thanks for sharing this.

  11. Connie Says:

    Loved the poem, and the photos. You have such talent.

  12. clara Melvin Says:

    That was great Beth….Thank you!

  13. CountryDew Says:

    I enjoyed your poem! I used to write a lot of poetry, too, but haven’t in a very long time. I miss it sometimes.

  14. Martha Says:

    A beautiful poem, Beth, and, as always, beautiful photos as a bonus. I used to write poetry too when I was much younger, and I would also spend hours trying to find words that rhyme. Unlike you, it was my tenth grade English teacher that discovered my poetry skills. She gave us an assignment one time (it was also for a school contest) and ended up choosing mine to post all over the school and in all the offices and the teacher’s lounge. I was secretly proud, but at that age it was more important to be cool, so this actually embarrassed me. Poetry was not cool in tenth grade, especially if yours was chosen as the winner in a contest :) I look back now and laugh at some of the things I used to worry about.

    I can’t believe how much snow you have! You probably have more than we do here!

    Anyhow, loved your post as always.

    Oh, and I do hope your son is doing well.

  15. Ariel Says:

    This is a beautiful poem. I love the snow angel in those last couple of lines. And I love the eyes through which you view the world.

    I hope you write more poems soon!

  16. Sweetflutterbys3 Says:

    I can’t write anything worth a lick, but I really enjoy what you write! Beautiful pictures, as usual. You have great talent.

  17. Jeff Says:

    It is so good to learn that Benjamin is doing well. I hope the pain is subsiding and he is moving about more comfortably! I have to admit that I’m ambivalent about poetry – some I like and some I don’t. But that is true of fiction and non-fiction as well, I suppose. It seems to me that some “poetry” is just regular writing cut into short sets of words and typeset differently. I often don’t “get it”, either. But I like your poem and I particularly love the photos that go with it!

  18. Ginger Says:

    What a beautiful post and poem. I love the picture of the snow bringing purity and joy and restoration. Sweet. I especially love the night gown image! I can imagine the long white flannel gown billowing! What’s wrong with accessible? I also love the chuckle that we are all sharing now that we have had over a month of snow and the romance is GONE! May we all get many chances to enjoy innocent delight on a regular basis.

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