Monday, December 3, 2007

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Snow-Flakes

Today is the first big snow of the season here in Maine. It's a perfect, fluffy snow...the kind for snow angels and snowshoeing and catching flakes on your tongue. "This is the poem of the air" as Longfellow puts it.

The above picture is a slide of an actual snowflake taken by Wilson Bentley in 1896. I recently came across a picture book about Bentley and his story is fascinating, but his slides are breathtaking. You can view many of them online at the Bentley Snow Crystal Collection.

In other snowflake news, this is the last week of the Robert's Snow Auction. Your last chance to own a one-of-a-kind piece of snowflake art! Until next year, anyway.

Here is a lovely poem by a fellow Mainer (my apologies to Longfellow for the lack of indents...if you want to see the poem closer to it's original formatting, you can find it here):

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

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