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:
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.