A Midwinter Tale

We have just returned from our evening walk. The night is crisp, the lights of the city below us sparkling like myriad shards of glass. No one is out this late in the evening. Even the dogs who usually give us a perfunctory bark as we wander by their domain have sufficient sense to be inside with their masters, curled up in front of a fire of smoldering embers. My mind clears of the daily clutter of events, and I recall similar nights walking with my parents and grandparents, the sound of the hard packed snow squeeking beneath the tread of our heels, our breaths coming out in smoky gasps as we talked, consciously and unconsciously intertwining our lives, creating memories which I alone am now left to carry into the future. Feeling as I do, the following poem creates a strong pull I cannot resist sharing with you.


It has been snowing all morning,
light flakes, none of them ready to rest.
They dance against the gray-green cedars
beyond the window, each snowflake
easy to pick out and follow,
enjoying itself, lifting and gliding,
playing for time against the inevitable.

On the windowsill, a photograph
of my mother at eighty, strong and confident,
blue dress, a simple string of pearls.
With each year she looked more like her father who lived to be nearly one hundred.
Both of them smile at me out of her face
and I can feel others standing behind them.
I lift on their breath and sail on.


                                                – Ted Kooser

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20 Responses to A Midwinter Tale

  1. Barb says:

    My evening walk tonight actually amounted to a potty break for Iman
    in a virtual downpour. The only sounds were pounding huge droplets
    and the sound of my voice saying Hurry Up! Iman.
    I really enjoyed the poem it is lovely.
    Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments left behind. I always leave
    a light on for late night visitors:)

  2. Beth says:

    The poem is beautiful.  Thank you for sharing!

  3. J says:

    Snow flakes! A beautiful analogy of life.
    Thanks Jorge,

  4. Etan says:

    The poem reminds me that every time I look at my own kids I see those who came before. 

  5. Aimee says:

    remembering is a great thing to do…
    *~* :o) if you do not have a smile today… :o) I will give you one of mine… :o) *~*

  6. Marge says:

    Thank you for providing a peaceful respite in my day, Jorge.
    This poem reminds me of our very human need for metaphor, for reflection, for continuity…
    The lines
    "Both of them smile at me out of her faceand I can feel others standing behind them."
    were heartbreakingly beautiful and made my eyes mist a little.
    It\’s snowing here today as I write this, my friend. The previous grime of refrozen slush is hidden beneath a new fall of white and is soothing to the spirit.
    I\’m reminded of Mom, her love for me, my family–imperfect but no less cherished in my heart, the permanence of change, and the simple peace of a new fall of snow…
    Thank you, Jorge…I\’m smiling…

  7. PJ says:

    Good Afternoon Jorge,
    The poem is very soothing and it also made me teary -eyed. I had not heard of Ted Kooser, so I Googled him. Ted Kooser is one of Nebraska’s most highly regarded poets and served as the United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 – 2006. A professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Later on this evening when I have a few down moments, I shall read some of his other poetry.
    Thank you for introducing me to this phenominal Poet.
    Until next time…Keep Smiling.

  8. Lisa says:

    I so wish I had these memories of my own grandparents.  Lucky for me, there is a collective conscience to these type of memories that exists in poems like these … and I selfishly get to take part.  You consistently share the most wonderful poems.

  9. Embrace says:

    This is so moving and beautiful . I love it.  Im sitting here with tears in my eyes . You really did it this time. Gessh. J . Its just that way to walking outside in the cold , hearing everystep you take , almost every breath is seen and as the cold penitrates it stats to pinch. Its so true.
    We are in for a cold snap this weekend and I will be thinking of this  and I will be back to read it again. Thanks so much for such a Beautiful Post the touched me so deeply.
    Have a wonderfu week.
    Lisa and ya a Hugs 🙂 because of Dr. L.B.  I loved that Man.

  10. Betty says:

    Hi Jorge,
    Thank you for sharing your memories and for the poem.  By the way, we share taste in music – Mozart and Willie, you bet!

  11. Michelle says:

    I love walking in the winter, with light snow coming down!  Reminds me also of when I grew up and the fun that I would have in the snow.

  12. Bittersweet on-the-hill. says:

    The poem is stunningly beautiful in its simplicity. I can picture myself following the drift of those snowflakes and gosh, how many times have I done that!  So I sense you are and have your fair share of snow.  For some reason I didn\’t think you were that far north but based on weather reports I\’ve been hearing, much of California is getting snow.  It must be quite pleasant to be that high up and see the lights of the city below.
    We have had our share of lousy weather, sleet, rain and ice with wet snow.  The stream and swamp are flooded so the ground is quite wet with a cold blast and more snow to follow. Typical February. I content myself with the Burpee Seed catalogue planning what my garden will be like this summer. I thank you for waving hello and trust you are well.  Bittersweet

  13. Saksinee says:

    That is very nice !
    Happy weekend…

  14. Barb says:

    This visit gave me a chance to reread this lovely poem:)Barb

  15. PJ says:

    Good Afternoon Jorge,
    Here\’s to a beautiful weekend.
    Until next time..Keep Smiling.

  16. dawn says:

     hugsJorge ^^  i understand

  17. Donna says:

    Hi, from BC, Canada! You seem to have similiar interests as myself, I invited you as a friend! Happy Valentines Day!
    Take care,

  18. Donna says:

    Oh, and to your significant other also!

  19. PJ says:

    Good Morning Jorge,
    It\’s Monday. Make the best of it. LOL.
    Until next time..Keep Smiling.

  20. Barb says:

    Happy Monday, thanks for the visit, yoour comments left
    behind were greatly appreciated.

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