Friday, February 12, 2010


I took this picture of the camellia bush outside my window today as the snow began -- here in Georgia on this Valentine/President's day weekend.

It made me think of a poem that I taught for many years to my students, who sat with their eyes over-glazed, their stares blank, as I talked about the loveliness of this poem -- how Emerson captured the wonder of God.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I threw the pearls before swine -- it was my job -- -----

now as I reread this poem in the quiet of my house, all shutters open to the snow, I love it even more. I am "enclosed in a tumultuous privacy of [snow]."

The Snow Storm

by 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 hill and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delated, 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 hiddden thorn;
Fills up the famer'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.

Blog Readers: Eh. I like it better when she makes fun of her family.

Former students: Man, who uses a word like "maugre" anyway? Emerson? Never heard of him -- and yo, Gillham? I did not stare.


  1. I'd make a comment about snow but uh, here in the land of the Winter Olympics, we have none. :P

  2. Nice photos...It's still coming down over here in ECobb

    Got myself a new email acct too--the one you suggested

  3. You want some pictures of snow, girl, I got some pictures of snow! ;)! It does look beautiful though. Although I will admit I am sick of snow! :)

  4. Nice! I had to look up "Delated." I don't think I have ever seen that word. I love the "tumultuous privacy."

  5. Lovely poem. I began to read it and then had to pause to "center" myself before trying again. I find that I often have to do that with poetry. My mental quietude isn't enough when taken without preparation. :-) One of my dear friends gave me a selection of Emerson poetry for Christmas. I've yet to read it though. (I'm busy with Keats now.) When I went to Boston with that same friend a few months back, I read up on the American Bloomsbury, Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne. Your post made me think of that trip - and made me particularly happy. So thanks. :)