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Weekly Prompt: Winter Weather

2010 February 26

Sun rising over snow in New Jersey

The deep of winter can be a particularly difficult time, especially for those who (like me) are affected by short, dark days and perpetual gray skies.  El Nino has wrought some particularly freakish incidences of heavy snow this year on the East Coast and some has dumped some uncharacteristically heavy bouts of rain on parts of the West Coast, but even here in the Midwest, where the storms have been much milder than usual (last year at this point, we were in the middle of a deep freeze in which the moisture in my nostrils would turn to ice each time I stepped outside), the weather’s inability to make up its mind in favor of clear skies has made my artificial sunlamp my new best friend.

Winter weather (and in particular, the alien quality of harsh winter storms) has always been a popular subject of poetry, it seems.  Robert Frost fixed winter in the national imagination forever with his “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening.“  William Carlos Williams captured the human viciousness we often project onto driving snow and ice in his poem “Blizzard.”  And Cathy Song’s “Leaving” deftly embodies the feeling of being under siege that can result when one is housebound by winter rainstorms:

The mildew grew in rings
around the sink
where centipedes came
swimming up the pipes
on multiple feet
and the mold grew
around our small fingers
making everything slippery
to touch.
We were squeamish and pale.

This week’s exercise asks you to follow in this tradition of writing the winter blues.

Prompt: Write about an experience of extreme winter weather.

Here’s an excerpt from my own attempt:

February Brown

The ground liver-spotted
with half-receded ice scales
takes up fresh powder

with swift muddy gulps.  Snow
mageddon
is what the weathermen
back home are calling it,

and yet here, we are stuck
between ice storm and thaw.
Let there be less of this

frozen monochrome, more
of the acid sun slanting off

the glazed drifts . . .

As usual, we’d be thrilled if you shared a portion of your own attempt with us in the comments below.  Happy writing — and for those of you who are snow or rain bound, hang in there!  May spring come very, very soon.

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