Thursday, January 31, 2013

January endings

Our Teaching Authors host for Poetry Friday this week is April Halprin Wayland.  Thanks April!  Come enjoy!


           We continue to experience drought in Denver (not in the mountains as much), so the few inches of snow early this week were welcome.  The temperature dropped from 60 to 20 on Monday and it snowed.  Tuesday when I rolled out the trash barrel, the eucalyptus seed pods rattled in the wind, the pine tree was indeed crusted with snow, only on the north side, and the squirrels perched in the cottonwood sat fluffed, with tails curled over their bodies.  I remembered The Snow Man, by Wallace Stevens.


             I imagine that most of you know this poem, but I share it as a goodbye to January, to that bleak month of winter’s middle.  In February we have the month of lovers, and then think of March winds bringing April showers.  See, it’s almost time to think of spring! 
The poem begins:

               One must have a mind of winter
           
    To regard the frost and the boughs
                                                 The rest can be read here

            There are other poems about snow to discover on the same page.

            I began reading more about Stevens at the Poets.org site, and found that he was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, but lived most of his life in Hartford, Connecticut.  He was a lawyer who walked the two miles to his work, a Hartford financial company, and said that he composed his poems while he walked, liking to match the words to his steps.  He loved Hartford and the site also shares a poem that Stevens wrote about his beloved city.

        There in Hartford, Stevens also loved a park named Elizabeth Park, where he walked daily to and from his home, I suppose after work.  Today a 2.4 mile walking tour can be taken along the path Stevens took.  The path is described as having 13 Connecticut granite stones, each carved with a verse from Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird.  Photos below.


27 comments:

  1. I'd love to take that walk on the Stevens path someday. This winter poem made me shiver - I am so ready for Spring!

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    1. Amazing how we start longing for it after January, at least I do, but I like some parts of winter too. Thanks Tara-I just saw you on Goodreads!

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  2. Thanks for sharing that poem - I hadn't read it. What a unique way to take a walk - with poems to read along the way

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    1. Wouldn't it be fun to do, Beverley? I think there is another place (perhaps many) where one of William Stafford's poems are shown. Thanks!

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  3. Linda, I think you have a poem here: "The eucalyptus seed pods rattled in the wind, the pine tree was indeed crusted with snow, only on the north side, and the squirrels perched in the cottonwood sat fluffed, with tails curled over their bodies."

    I didn't know about the 13 Blackbirds walk. Very cool, but I think that may be a RAVEN perched in your tree!

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    1. Thanks, Laura, for all your lovely comments. I never wanted to go to Hartford before, but now I do! No, we don't have ravens come down to the flat, it's a crow, which we have in abundance.

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  4. I've always liked Stevens' poetry, even though there are many challenging ones I don't quite understand. The Snowman is wonderful -- and I love that walking path with the verses carved on granite stones. :)

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    1. Isn't it interesting that he immersed himself in this city, walking, walking? I tried to find out, but did not, if he ever traveled much. Thanks Jama.

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  5. What a way to express the silence of snow. Like Laura, I noticed you had a poem in your post. Now I want to go to Hartford!

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    1. Me, too, Liz. Great to learn something new about him! Thanks.

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  6. Thank you for introducing me to the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Linda. His poem reminds me of the feeling of triumph at the end of January I had when I lived in Wisconsin. A necessary hurdle to get closer to spring. =)

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    1. Oh, so happy to share Stevens with you. Some of the poems are quite lovely. Thanks Bridget!

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  7. That is so cool. And now I understand something of where his poetry comes from; being out in the cold long enough "To behold the junipers shagged with ice," :)

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    1. I guess he really loved the outdoors & nature. You are right about the origins of those lovely tree descriptions. Thanks, Andi

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  8. What a perfect way to say so long to January, Linda. And I love your optimistic view of February, hehe. I haven't read Wallace Stevens in years, so it was nice to visit with him again. Would love to go on that walk!

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    1. Actually, you are so right, pure optimism. Traditionally our snowiest months are February & March. Guess I'll wait & see. I don't always read his work, but love this poem very much.

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  9. "I imagine that most of you know this poem, but I share it as a goodbye to January, to that bleak month of winter’s middle. In February we have the month of lovers, and then think of March winds bringing April showers. See, it’s almost time to think of spring!"

    Even in your words, there is poetry, Linda. While the lines you shared are beautiful, I liked your "intro" better. Hehe. There was a winter storm in San Diego a couple of weeks ago, and it rained last week. Still cold from where I live. I can't wait for Spring to get here!!!

    Your lovely post warmed my heart. Thanks for sharing!! =)

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    1. Your words keep me warm too, Fats. Thank you. I actually love winter, but am also often amused that after January, thoughts turn to waiting for spring, even though here it is quite a few weeks away. Maybe I should work on this poem of 'feelings' I had last night as I wrote this?

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  10. Ooh, I want to walk this path. I love this poem of his. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Maybe someday on the path, Jone! It's lovely to imagine, isn't it? Poetry waiting while you walk. Thanks!

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  11. We walked on a path once in Vermont on the grounds near one of Robert Frost's houses...can't remember the exact details...and it, too had poetry posted along the way. Very fun.

    Hmm...am hatching an idea for our landlab at school...

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    1. I'd love to visit Frost's home, have read about it. How wonderful to be there. Hope you tell about your Landlab, Mary Lee. Thanks!

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  12. One of the serendipitous things about Poetry Friday is learning more about poets and their writing process. I would love to take this poetry walk. I often get inspiration when I walk. Sadly, I haven't been able to walk lately due to a bum ankle. I know when it heals, I will be more appreciative of this ability. Could we take a field trip together to Hartford?

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    1. As Eliza Doolittle would say, 'wouldn't it be loverly?', Margaret. Sorry about your ankle!

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  13. My poetry professor once told us that no one in Hartford had any idea Stevens was a poet. He was just the insurance guy who walked to work. (Actually he was VP of the company, but still.)Amazing poet. A "mind of winter." So beautiful. So simple.

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    1. amazing story, Doraine. Just think, there he was, writing, writing, & they didn't know! Thanks for telling me. And yes, I love the poem.

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  14. My post tomorrow is meant for friends such as yourself who are experiencing the cold of winter. It's Greens - the sun all around. :) Wallace Stevens used to be a favorite. :) Would have to revisit his poems soon.

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