Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Snowed In


Darkness—I sit up,
the sound of new snow falling
strange upon the ear.

The power lines are
fallen, black husks upon the
road’s icy shoulder.

Clear morning, and chill,
the robust wheels of commerce
still and silent.

Dogs and children like
these mornings, rhythms out of
time, changed features, snow.

The ostinato
of this hurried life engine,
now a half-speed waltz.

There are dreams within
the cymbal sound of shovels
clearing the driveway.

There is magic in
the silence of wheels frozen,
stopped in their turning.


drthunder said...

What a lovely gift. I tried to choose a favorite, but each has a special meaning for me. Reading your Blog is a grand way to start the day, that's for sure. Thanks for capturing the moments.

Bill said...

Man, I have trouble writing one of these, let alone a group that share a common theme...

I loved the "cymbasl sound of shovels" and "the sound of new snow falling" I think most people would say it makes no sound, but if you're out and listen, it has a distinct sound, all its own!

Mushster said...

Yaaaaaay for Haikus :)

I think #1 and ... no, I can't choose, they're all great.

MB said...

Well, lookee here what you've done!

It's almost like a koan: what is the sound of new snow falling? Except it isn't.

I particularly like "black husks" because for me it conjured up such strong visual images of the aftermath of snowstorms.

I also enjoyed the way you varied the rhythm, the breaking of lines, in the haiku about dogs and children.

Firehawk said...

Thanks, everyone for coming over.


I'm occasionally just looking around and writing down observations of quiet things. I think I've been doing that more lately. Glad you liked them.


I always thought I'd have a terrible time writing formal poetry, and many of the complicated forms still flummox me, but I've grown fond of the haiku.

I was trying to get at the sound of things, the rhythm and timbre of these events. You have to pick an aspect to accentuate in such a short form. There's no room for multiple layers of metaphor, I wouldn't think. At least not at my level of expertise.


Thanks! I didn't know you were a haiku fan. I'll try to post them from time to time. I've been on a free verse kick of late, but it might be time for more formal poetry.


I think that haikus are good for isolating the hidden truths and rare images of nature. They're probably the epitome of linguistic compression, trying to get a snapshot out of 17 syllables.

Making the haiku form "jump" by making the lines and rests move down a half-step can be fun. Sometimes, I have to admit, I just do it so I can finish a thought, though. Glad you were intrigued by it, one way or the other.

MB said...

Well, I liked that you did that in the haiku that had to do with rhythm. I've always tried (not always successfully, of course) to keep each line a coherent thought/phrase. I guess because it feels most elegant to me that way, unless there is a reason to do it otherwise. In your instance, there certainly was reason, whether or not it was intentional!

Stranger Ken said...

I've just caught up with Moose's magical response to your haiku, which I guess you've already read. I was provoked, too, but, not being a fan of cold weather, only in the direction of a prosaic tanka:

Snow fell last night.
The road into town
is still waiting for the ploughs.
How am I to get to work
on such a cold, bleak morning?

Firehawk said...


Glad you felt my tactic was warranted, and that it captured your attention. I think that when I first started to write haikus, I was being too restrictive in my approach. I've loosened it up a little, and I find that it's made the poems feel more natural to me.


I wouldn't call your Tanka "prosaic". Accurate, to my mind. Who hasn't asked himself that question. "How early must I get up, so that I can shovel the drive and take the slow routes to work?"

Here is some bonus coverage, since it snowed today here in Salt Lake:

Long train rumbles slow
winter has arrived
darkness and falling snow flakes,
the red lanterns of tail lights,
I will be late to supper.

MB said...

I admire your less rigid approach. I always feel tentative when using unfamiliar forms, hesitant about insulting propriety, especially when I'm not sure what it should be precisely. A lot easier to break the rules when you are sure you know what they are.

More bonus in honor of this morning's weather:

dawn brings a cold front
temperatures plunging
huddled figures on the ice
brace themselves against the wind
walking in frozen sunlight

Across Inconstant Breath

Would that this skin this frail armor atop the husk of slow departure -  Would that it held against the teeth  of night's maw a...