Tuesday, October 28, 2014

snow, delicate snow

The Snowfall Is So Silent

by Miguel de Unamuno

The snowfall is so silent,
so slow,
bit by bit, with delicacy
it settles down on the earth
and covers over the fields.
The silent snow comes down
white and weightless;
snowfall makes no noise,
falls as forgetting falls,
flake after flake.
It covers the fields gently
while frost attacks them
with its sudden flashes of white;
covers everything with its pure
and silent covering;
not one thing on the ground
anywhere escapes it.
And wherever it falls it stays,
content and gay,
for snow does not slip off
as rain does,
but it stays and sinks in.
The flakes are skyflowers,
pale lilies from the clouds,
that wither on earth.
They come down blossoming
but then so quickly
they are gone;
they bloom only on the peak,
above the mountains,
and make the earth feel heavier
when they die inside.
Snow, delicate snow,
that falls with such lightness
on the head,
on the feelings,
come and cover over the sadness
that lies always in my reason.

- translator, Robert Bly
- about Unamuno

We awoke to, yes, you guessed it, snow, yesterday morning. It's already nearly disappeared. I packed my camera up in plastic, and out I went.

There's something about the first snow. There's still wonder in it.

I've added the above photos to my recurring bird set on Flickr, which is coming along nicely.

First Snow

by Louise Gluck

Like a child, the earth’s going to sleep,
or so the story goes.
But I’m not tired, it says.
And the mother says, You may not be tired but I’m tired—
You can see it in her face, everyone can.
So the snow has to fall, sleep has to come.
Because the mother’s sick to death of her life
and needs silence.

I loved the above poem, because it's not at all what you expect. We've either been the tired mother, or recognize her.

And it's true that in winter, the world is quieter, silent. If all goes as planned, you might just get more time to yourself than usual. It's possible.

Snow Is Falling

by Boris Pasternak

Snow is falling: snow is falling.
Geranium flowers reach
for the blizzard’s small white stars
past the window’s edge.

Snow is falling, all is lost,
the whole world’s streaming past:
the flight of steps on the back stairs,
the corner where roads cross.

Snow is falling: snow is falling,
not snowflakes stealing down,
Sky parachutes to earth instead,
in his worn dressing gown.

As if he’s playing hide-and-seek,
across the upper landings,
a mad thing, slowly sneaks,
Sky creeps down from the attic.

It’s all because life won’t wait,
before you know, it’s Christmas here.
And look, in a minute,
suddenly it’s New Year.

Snow is falling, deeper – deeper.
Maybe, with that same stride
in that same tempo,
with that same languor,
Time’s going by?
Year after year, perhaps,
passing, as snow’s falling,
like words in a poem?
Snow’s falling: snow’s falling.
Snow is falling, all is lost –
the whitened passers-by,
leaves’ startled showing,
the corners where roads cross.


I've read many poems about snow, but I don't think I've read the Pasternak one before. Maybe because I think of him as novelist rather than poet. Most of us probably remember him as the author of Doctor Zhivago. But he wrote many volumes of poetry.

The first stanza captivated me, yesterday. It seemed to play out - though instead of geraniums, there were sunflowers and dahlias and cone flowers reaching for the small white stars.

Before heading out for the walk, I photographed the flowers in our backyard.

Next, we head out on our usual walk, toward the utility corridor.

Mr. Ace does enjoy the snow - he was running around like a puppy in the stuff.

We returned home through the neighbourhood. The streets were wet, though the snow accumulated everywhere else.

Admittedly, I took many, many more photos. So even though the snow will have disappeared, there will be more snow photos tomorrow :)


  1. I have never read that Boris Pasternak poem either - what a treasure! Funny, I watch Dr Zhivago at least once a year but it always has to be after the first snow flies... xo

  2. First snow? So nice, so important for soul!
    I also watch Dr Zhivago for the snowy, icy scenes.

  3. I actually love snow and welcome the coming of winter, especially after such a long, slow fall. It's time. The earth is indeed very tired and all my perennials want their blankets to snuggle under. Thanks for the photos of snow-covered flowers. They are very beautiful. The combination of rusted colors and white snow is gorgeous.

  4. You make snow look exceptionally beautiful. I love each and every poem here, thank you for sharing. It is getting to be that time...time to hibernate...and I'm looking forward to it!

  5. Tired mother here. That poem was perfect. The first snow is always magical but I admit that I do like it when it melts. I feel like we are just days away from our first snowfall and I can't wait!

  6. Thank you all, for your visits and comments. The snow has melted, but there will be more. That's a certainty :)

  7. Lovely pix - esp the frosty sunflowers and Ace #3 - you can really see his personality in that one. A tired mother in other ways now.


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