The Snow by Emily Dickinson


On an evening when a big snow storm arrives over New England, we need a snow poem by a New England poet. Emerson’s snow storm poem was posted here already. Here’s one by that brightest and most self-possessed recluse from Amherst, Emily Dickinson. Snow, when there’s enough of it, changes all the eye can see. The big, proud cities that know no night and no weakness are shut down this evening. Imagine that. New York and Boston: closed. Too much snow. Emerson and Dickinson would smile if they knew.

It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain, —
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem, —
The summer’s empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen, —
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

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