Snowetry, Day 3

Snowetry:  Poetry about snow. Most often read and meditated on by people in southern parts of the United States that gaze longingly at leaden skies and wonder why they have freezing cold weather, cold rain, but no  very little snow.

A student of mine from years ago, Steve Pettit, took this picture this past week on Mount Magazine. The picture itself is a work of poetry. Or perhaps we can say it captures God’s poetry.

The Snowfall Is So Silent

  by Miguel de Unamuno
translated by Robert Bly

The snowfall is so silent,
so slow,
bit by bit, with delicacy
it settles down on the earth
and covers over the fields.
The silent snow comes down
white and weightless;
snowfall makes no noise,
falls as forgetting falls,
flake after flake.
It covers the fields gently
while frost attacks them
with its sudden flashes of white;
covers everything with its pure
and silent covering;
not one thing on the ground
anywhere escapes it.
And wherever it falls it stays,
content and gay,
for snow does not slip off
as rain does,
but it stays and sinks in.
The flakes are skyflowers,
pale lilies from the clouds,
that wither on earth.
They come down blossoming
but then so quickly
they are gone;
they bloom only on the peak,
above the mountains,
and make the earth feel heavier
when they die inside.
Snow, delicate snow,
that falls with such lightness
on the head,
on the feelings,
come and cover over the sadness
that lies always in my reason.

This poet, who was Spanish and lived from 1864 to 1936, and this poem are both new to me.  Also, when a work of poetry is in translation, the result is, as Alan Tate noted, two literary works.  I cannot read Spanish, so I have to enjoy this delightful English translation.

 

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