Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Verse of the Day - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Snowstorm - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,

Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.


  1. Made me feel a little cold just reading this. :-)

    I like the way he juxtaposes the power of the storm with the whimsy of it.

    Some of my favorite parts are:

    "his wild work so fanciful, so savage,"

    "A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn,"

    and I especially like the final two lines of this piece,
    "Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
    The frolic architecture of the snow."

  2. thanks Daisy - I wasn't very familiar with this poem until somebody else posted it, but it's a nice take on the storm.