Our Very Lives Hovering As Well


“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” 

—E.E. Cummings


by Joseph Stroud
for Tom Marshall

Tom and I are walking Last Chance Road
down from the mountain where we had been
hunting mushrooms under a stand of coast oaks,
walking down and looking out to the Pacific
shimmering in the late fall sun, the light
on the surface like glittering flakes of mica,
when we see a white-tailed kite hovering
in the air, hovering over a green pasture,
hovering over the day, over the two of us,
our very lives hovering as well, there
on the California coast, in the fall, in the sun,
on our way home, with a sack of chanterelles,
with our love for this world, with so much time,
and so little time—all of it—hovering—
and hovering still.


There was a time in Minnesota when first snowfall meant the beginning of continuous snow for the remainder of the winter.   Not anymore.  Now we have a series of “firsts.”  We have several first snows that melt away and we slowly build to frozen soil where sometime in late December or early January we get enough snow that even a January rain can’t wash it away.   Basically, Minneapolis has turned into what Kansas City was 80 years ago when my father was growing up.  We are right on the dividing line of where snow falls and stays and where it doesn’t in Minneapolis.   The irony is the tendency to get days above freezing that were incredibly unusual 20 years from Thanksgiving through March, are now common, yet the warmer days still doesn’t shield us from the severe arctic air that slides down once in while throughout the winter plunging us well below zero.   Our winters have become bi-polar, pun intended.   Minneapolis can range from highs like today in the single digits and lows below zero and three days later be 42 degrees.   It makes it hard to commit to a single jacket this time of year.   Regardless, we had a lovely “first” snowfall this week with close to 3 inches covering the ground.  It will all be melted by next.This time of year both ends of my commute are in the dark and it makes the days feel incredibly short.   But Tuesday night driving home the darkness was  a joy as the sliver moon was crowned by Venus glowing brightly directly above its point. 

 I enjoyed these two poems by Stroud and his take on winter.   He has a similar tendency as myself to find joy in snow and cold in equal measures to summer’s warmth.   What season(s) are you the happiest?  Why?


by Joseph Stroud

Everywhere, everywhere, snow sifting down,
a world becoming white, no more sounds,
no longer possible to find the heart of the day,
the sun is gone, the sky is nowhere, and of all
I wanted in life – so be it – whatever it is
that brought me here, chance, fortune, whatever
blessing each flake of snow is the hint of, I am
grateful, I bear witness, I hold out my arms,
palms up, I know it is impossible to hold
for long what we love of the world, but look
at me, is it foolish, shameful, arrogant to say this,
see how the snow drifts down, look how happy
I am.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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