Proverbial Snow

PoetryNo one like William Carlos Williams to capture the simple transcendence of snowfall. His poem “Blizzard,” below, beautifully captures the private feeling of loneliness that heavy snow can instill. It seemed like a fitting piece to share now that much of the country is immersed in the thick of winter.


years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.

Posted by Ana Maria Caballero, Zeteo Contributing Writer


  1. William Eaton

    There’s something very American about poems such as this. As if the following dual claim were being made. Either it is that poetry, like everything else in life, should be easy, or at least easy for Americans. Or genius should be a gift from God, unmediated by work. Either a great poem comes full-grown through one’s synapses and fingers onto the paper or it doesn’t. The poet just puts down what he or she hears, and trusts to his ear to judge the rightness or wrongness of any word choice, enjambment, etc. This is not a comment on Williams’s working methods, which, for all I know, may have been excruciating. I am commenting on the result, the feeling of the poem. Even with its “anger,” “weight,” and “solitude,” Williams’s “snow” feels quite light, unburdensome. It’s a few flakes that, miraculously, stick to the page and are not quickly blown away. That is its genius?


  2. Ana Maria Caballero

    I have an (un-researched) feeling that this poem hides weeks of work behind its airy lines. I do think that this is the genius of Williams, shown here and in many other of his poems.


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