November review

Most of the photos I’ve taken this November have been of the wonderful clouds and sunny/sunset skiesimage

even though the days are getting shorter and colder

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the views looking up have been spectacular!

 

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Poem for January

I’m a little late with this poem, as January is already over, but I like this poem very much; and I enjoyed including poetry here over Christmas, and want to carry that on. It’s great to discover new poets and their work and to revisit old favourites. I love the economy of the words in this poem, every one counts and makes the imagery vivid; enjoy.

January

The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

–John Updike

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24: Winter walk for Christmas Eve

I’m on a poetry roll, so for today, as the UK is battered and blown around by gale force winds and rain, another poem rejoicing in the seasons and nature by John Clare.

Winter Walk

The holly bush, a sober lump of green,
Shines through the leafless shrubs all brown and grey,
And smiles at winter be it eer so keen
With all the leafy luxury of May.
And O it is delicious, when the day
In winter’s loaded garment keenly blows
And turns her back on sudden falling snows,
To go where gravel pathways creep between
Arches of evergreen that scarce let through
A single feather of the driving storm;
And in the bitterest day that ever blew
The walk will find some places still and warm
Where dead leaves rustle sweet and give alarm
To little birds that flirt and start away.

John Clare

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I took this photo a couple of years ago on a snowy winter walk and thought it was a good accompaniment to this poem.

23: Dust of Snow

More poetry today! I like the brevity and succinct message of this poem by Robert Frost. I was going to post “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”  but when I read this poem,”Dust of Snow”,  I liked its meaning – how a single brief occurrence can lighten a dark day. I include it for all those for whom Christmas is a difficult time – I hope something will lighten your day too.

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

20: Minstrels for Christmas

Christmas is a time when music plays a particularly important and characterful part: I like this poem  by William Wordsworth, with its depiction of a still Christmas night outside, filled with the sound of music and merry-making from within.

Minstrels

The minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

And who but listened?–till was paid
Respect to every inmate’s claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And “Merry Christmas” wished to all.

William Wordsworth

9: Winter poem 2

Another poem today, celebrating the beauty of winter. Approaching storms, the brightness of frost and fallen snow, and the juxtaposition of dark and light; wonderful imagery and celebration of the season, all contained in this special poem.

The Winter’s Spring

The winter comes; I walk alone,
I want no bird to sing;
To those who keep their hearts their own
The winter is the spring.
No flowers to please-no bees to hum-
The coming spring’s already come.
I never want the Christmas rose
To come before its time;
The seasons, each as God bestows,
Are simple and sublime.
I love to see the snowstorm hing;
‘Tis but the winter garb of spring.
I never want the grass to bloom:
The snowstorm’s best in white.
I love to see the tempest come
And love its piercing light.
The dazzled eyes that love to cling
O’er snow-white meadows sees the spring.
I love the snow, the crumpling snow
That hangs on everything,
It covers everything below
Like white dove’s brooding wing,
A landscape to the aching sight,
A vast expanse of dazzling light.
It is the foliage of the woods
That winters bring-the dress,
White Easter of the year in bud,
That makes the winter Spring.
The frost and snow his posies bring,
Nature’s white spurts of the spring.

John Clare

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Frozen

It’s been very wintry of late here in Scotland.

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Last week was really bitter and out walking I saw this frozen pond in the park.

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heron walking on the ice

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and beautiful winter sunset

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Too cold to linger for long though!