Cold? “The Snowman” by Wallace Stevens – that’s cold

The Snow Man


One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


Stevens is one of my favorite poets. Having just experienced one of the worst intervals of hard freezes and wind chills in the teens on our little farm in N. Florida just recently, I feel motivated to post this remarkable poem now.  We were absolutely bludgeoned by the cold. I feared for the animals’ lives. Most plants died and I didn’t hear a bird for four days.  Unheard of! But we survived, if barely. We are terribly ill-equipped for this kind of unusual weather. It’s not normal in our “climate.”

The last line of the poem is a humdinger.  After the last week, I must say, I really get this poem.

To find out more about this remarkable American poet whose reputation grows exponentially every year, I strongly encourage you to click on the link at the top or this one Wallace Stevens.

wallace_stevens 1

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
This entry was posted in American Literature, Literature, poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cold? “The Snowman” by Wallace Stevens – that’s cold

  1. robert okaji says:

    One of my favorite poems – “the nothing that is.” So much there!

    Liked by 1 person

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