Saturday, January 22, 2005

Let it snow ...

The weather outside doesn't strike me as at all frightful, but I didn't drive in it. But I was out walking in it and I shovelled my sidewalk. A heavy snowfall always makes me want to take another look at what was once a very popular poem -- John Greenleaf Whittier's "Snowbound."
The Rev at The Book Barn didn't think much of it when he took a look a few years ago: http://www.jp41.dial.pipex.com/R289.HTML
Now The Rev admits he has problems with pre-20th-century poetry, and I think a lot of people do. It's more formal, less colloquial, and above all more leisurely than later verse. If read out loud, though, Whittier's poem demonstrates more subtlety of rhyme and rhythm than The Rev notices. It's a reminiscence in rhyme, with some pretty good imagery. I rather like this:
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts

Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.
You can read the whole think here, with some nice pictures to boot:
http://www.darsie.net/library/whittier_snowbound.html
Just remember to take your time.

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