Ready to Kiss Winter Goodbye, But Don’t Toss These Poems

This winter, here in Minnesota, we’ve been reminded that March, even with climate change,  can still be full-on winter.

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All that snow was pretty and now I am so ready to be done with winter—snow shovels, gloves, boots, hats.

But as I pack away my winter poems, I’m reluctant to let go a few favorites, ones that always seem to spark winter conversations and memories with older adults I work with, especially when combined with a few photos of winter scenes—historic blizzards in particular stir up a lot of conversation and memories.

In particular this pair of  poems—-featuring heating and how we used to heat our houses— and who did the work to keep that heat coming—are often fruitful for stirring up memories and stories:

Marge Percy, “The Air Smelled Dirty”

Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays”

Lots of folks remember the coal chute, but the stories range widely, a few gems:

parents’ taking a break from shoveling to show a child how to make a snowball (and start a snowball fight, and —more importantly—enjoy life),

cutting peat for heating fuel,

trying to jimmy coins out of a British bedsit gas meter.

The Hayden poem also often leads to interesting conversations about how little of our parents’ own lives we sometimes understood when we were children…

So I won’t miss the end of winter, but I will miss the winter stories these poems kick up.

PS—

Here are some resources for finding your own favorite winter poems:

Interesting Literature

Poetry Foundation

American Academy of Poets

Let me know your favorites and what connects you to them…

PPS–

And if you find too many gloomy winter poems, for a lighter mood check out:

Robert Frost, “Dust of Snow”

Snowy tree limbs

 

 

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