Poem: First Snow

I have been gone. The first snow has come. I share a poem I wrote many years ago to Imaging:

First Snow

Together we watched the snow cover the ground

In ten minutes.

“Before it’s through

The snow will be up to the doorknob.”

Do you remember saying that?

Then we saw the golden ground give up,

The tall summer grasses, frightened,

Standing stiff

Like old men frozen at the brink

Waiting to be smothered.

“Do not be afraid, grasses,” you said.

“Already you have seeded.

Do not shiver so.

But fight.” Do you remember how you said,

“Oh, please fight!”

And then the blood of golden grasses

Turned all white.

The geese are at the pond. The snow has covered the meadow where they often graze and food is scarce. We toss out corn at the edge of the pond. But soon the geese will fly south. Winter is upon us. I share a question with the old bull elk, and with you. Will we make it another winter?


27 responses to “Poem: First Snow

  1. Snow birds are like the flock of people, who follow the sun of the seasons, as age makes the bones more brittle.
    We can not hibernate like the grizzly bears, and sleep it off in a cave, the bitter cold winds, that will now descend for the next 4-5 months, at latitudes above the zones in Norte America.
    If only the West coast had waters in the 85 degee temp, this time of year, but the currents are cooling, oh to find the perfect beach, do any know where the perfect beach is, if you knew you would not disclose, so as to keep it a secret, and so I must keep it like that too, a non-disclosure pact.

  2. And I answer yes. You have seeded well. You need not shiver. Lots of us seedlings will be there with you, we share with each other to grow strong roots.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful poetry with us.

  3. This may fit better in some other time slot.
    But I feel for the mother of the Columbine killer, after reader about her essay;


    It is so often difficult to discern the struggles going on in an others mind, until the tipping point.
    Dylan was a mother’s worst nighmare.
    However, Dylan was spotted by the Military as one about to go off, rejecting him.

    I know this is maybe out of sync in the slot, but in this cold world, it could sure use more understanding, and love, even to the mother of Dylan, the Columbine killer.(see above).
    Teachers at Columbine had to take off a year, to decompress(some), others are still writing about it seeking to grapple with the tragedy, even now..

  4. The answer for Jackson Hole long timers is “probably not.” Winter is too early, arriving in October, and stays too long, leaving in May. Not too many older types can tolerate that, including that Old Bull Elk.

  5. You were missed. We kept a fire in the fireplace for you. There’s beer in the ice bucket and beans in the pot hanging over the fire. ( nope, I have no idea why beans.)
    We didn’t send out calls for you this time. We just decided to respect it. In a 24/7 interconnected wireless world the word gone stops being a statement of location becomes a statement on mental focus . English is such a great language.
    That is a heck of a poem. In that few words it gives a sketch of two people. A sketch, from the inside, of the speaker and a sketch, from the outside ,of the person spoken to.
    If you are up there in this weather you must truly love it. It brings to mind Robert Frosts poem that begins- ” the land was ours before we were the lands.”
    The bull elk refuses to entertain your question. He keeps his eye on available pine needles to eat. Given that the things you are curious about outnumber his pine needles, I’d say you have another forty years to go.
    I was going to end there but find myself needing to include the words of a Leonard Cohen song. I saw him, at seventy four perform this recently.
    ” my friends are gone
    and my hair is gray
    I ache in the places
    where I used to play

    I”m crazy for love babe
    but I’m not comin on
    I’m just payin my dues
    here in the tower of song

  6. Gerry-

    Thank you. I read this on my 27th wedding anniversary, in the midst of lots of turmoil on the TLC front, and it brings such a joyful, peaceful moment. I feel a wonderful stillness reading it. I see the snow, the grass, the door, I feel a chill wind, I hear the quiet of snow kissing the earth. The season begins to turn once again.

    This winter will bring its cold and solitude. We will bundle up and draw together around warming fires, have time to share and time to ruminate. The things that seem so pressing, overwhelming, disappointing, and even terrifying will come into a better, softer focus if we just take the time to sit with them and turn them over in our minds and work them through with each other.

    Thank you for letting us all stand with you and Imaging in that cold clear moment. And yes, we will make it to another spring.


    Much love,

  7. Grass comes back with sun, turning green again in
    the Spring.
    Yet, our white hair, only gets a deeper shade of white. The grass will soon be mowed, and mulched, mixed with the soil, and, then a new plot will be prepared. Water in the hydrological cycle is the key in the magic circle of life. We are mostly water, held together by some fiber strains, with a touch of a conciousness, at some bright new dawn.

  8. I believe it was Clarence Darrow who once said that in the breast of every lawyer beats the heart of a poet…it does.

  9. Oh pleeeeeaseeee…….. You blog is nothing but narcissitic drivel. If you want TLC to survive another winter, quit killing it and quit letting your hand picked president kill it. Practice what you preach!!

  10. Your poem brought tears, and some refreshing perspective.

    None of us knows the answer to your question, but we do know that if you don’t, no one will say “so what?,” which is but one of the goals you’ve inspired me, and countless others, to strive for.

    I predict you have more winters than you imagine, and know, confidently, that your legacy will echo on the wind longer than the bull elk’s bugle in the Fall.

  11. The first snow storm of the season is a big deal, it is like a major transistion to some other season.
    People who live in a climate where there are not 4 seasons, may not understand.
    I suspect John(above) is clueless.
    Is John one of those Ted Frank goons from over -lawyered.COM who hates open court rooms for citizens ?
    Now, there is a WWW Site that is filled with drivel, bull, manure, the kind of stuff found in a mulch pit.
    Sorry, for the discordant note, but John the Judas has some ax to grind on TLC, etc.
    He must have got Pattis flue…
    He has the same tone.
    I love winter, i love the first snow fall, I love seeing the snow flakes come down, and the snow buld up. It is part of a great cycle, that feeds the earth in the Spring runs offs.
    I am awed by every first snow fall, of the season, still, after all these many years.

  12. Great Poem Gerry. One of my (few) problems with the South is that I miss snow terribly. As for legacy….

    Ya’ did not know me from Adam,
    Ya’ may not recognize me in a crowd,


    You birthed ya’ a college,
    You’ve shared love in a Barn,
    Gathered ya’ friends
    And Showed all around.

    Now we are wandering,
    Wondering what’s next,
    Will the snow turn to Slush,
    Or make us our Best.

    Our client’s been freed,
    Pain compen-$ated.
    You’se led up the Hillock,
    And we’ve all see the Mountain.

    The plans have been lain
    Through the tears and the pain,
    Net Spring will remind Us,
    To do it, again.

    Your Legacy to me is TLC, and for that I thank you. I keep trying to infect people with “caring,” and so far it has worked out pretty well. My client’s thank you, as does my Famliy.

  13. I awoke this morning to a blanket of white covering all I would see here in Minneapolis. I was not initially happy about this nor having to drive in city traffic in it to attend a hearing. However, I now rejoice in reading your poem and the fact that we are still all here. Rejoice in the Now! The future will bring whatever we cannot control anyhow. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thanks for the poetry. Jim Harrison would be proud.

  15. Dear Gerry,

    Your poem is beautiful, and I will remember it when the state of VA has its first snowfall. I’m not sure when that will be, of course, and I’m lousy at predictions.

    As to your last question, no one knows for sure, nor can anyone make promises. But I choose to be very optimistic and say you will not only make it another winter, but many more. Your students need you, including your unofficial ones. 🙂

  16. In answer to the question it depends. Is there a strong will to survive? Is life so dear that nothing will be allowed to take it?
    It is just another winter.

  17. Do we have a choice?

    Either our spirit is set free or we hunker down until the first few sprigs of green start poking through the dormant ground.

    Is it really in our control?

    I think not, much like the change of season is out of our control. Here in northern MN we have already had many hard freezes and the snow has been flying for days. Our garden was not ready. We rescued some tomatoes that were just starting to ripen. We pulled beets and carrots out of the cold ground. Our kale and chard froze in its place, turning itself over to the forces of nature. The yellow marigolds are still bright, but they too have given up the great struggle.

    We too must give up the struggle against nature and instead get caught in its jetstream and let it take us for a ride. Some will die on the mountain with the old bull elk. Others will again roam the earth when spring comes and exciting things will be waiting for them when the sun shines its glorious graces upon us.

    Love and Peace Y’all!!!!!

  18. Some in the Artic, find winter more life enriching, the language of natives– there– have many words for snow.
    In fact, warming(global) and rising of the sea, is threatening, the existence in some Northern native villages of whole areas.
    Can’t you hear the old Chief, Oh God(in Yupick) , if I can just make it through another summer, to the glorious new snows.
    Not to mention those polar bears, and the sea life of the Artic, that has its own eco-systems, rhtym of life, far from the equator.

  19. “Winter is upon us. I share a question with the old bull elk, and with you. Will we make it another winter?”
    Maybe we will and maybe we won’t. But is not the real greater question, if not, have we left behind a better place than we first found it? And if we are still here, well then there is still time…..to make a difference. And the question I ask of me and of you…what then will we do?

  20. “What then will we do”, this winter:
    I was so busy last winter, I bought a season pass, and never had a slope day.
    I got one(PASS) just a few weeks ago, I hope to have some real slope time this winter.
    Yes, I know, some might like to see a reply about saving the world, or stopping tons of Green- house gases. I am sorry,
    I won’t be able to save the world for you this winter.
    What will we do, I am going to get some slope time on the best powder that mother nature can drop, and I hope it is # foot high, near the Peaks.

  21. Gerry,
    I have finally found the source of all the problems in this country.
    The US CODE identifies the unconstitutional United States corporation.

    § 3002. Definitions
    (15) “United States” means—
    (A) a Federal corporation;
    (B) an agency, department, commission, board, or other entity of the United States; or
    (C) an instrumentality of the United States.

    TITLE 5 > PART I > CHAPTER 1 > § 103
    § 103. Government corporation
    For the purpose of this title—
    (1) “Government corporation” means a corporation owned or controlled by the Government of the United States; and
    (2) “Government controlled corporation” does not include a corporation owned by the Government of the United States.

    The US corporation is unconstitutional. Abolish the unconstitutional UNITED STATES corporation and reestablish the constitutional republic, the United States of America. You and I have been complaining about the symptoms. The real problem is the United States corporation and it’s employees.

  22. Etsparky and Gerry:
    Congress has defined a corporation to be a person.
    Then, Congress has these mixed eneitt
    Corporations, that sre deemed bestowed with
    governmental functions
    Then, next thing we see are massive billions
    of tax payer money handed over
    to AIG, one of the most evil organizations
    ever incorporated.
    The U S is doomed.
    It is being canabalized before our very eyes.

  23. Etsparky might be on to something:

    From U S code title 1 chapeter 1:

    “The words person … include(s) corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.”
    However, to provide defenses to corporations, other sections of the U S code strip away the attributes of a natural person( all set up by Congress).
    So, corporations get grafted on to ’em attributes of a person, and persons get the cold chill treatment to freeze them away as non-human, all the works of the U S Congress.
    Do most know this, or are they in the dark ?

  24. Gerry,
    In this generation, your voice has been heard arguing for justice, for the “little guy”, the individual that stands alone, that is being abused by the government.
    The case of Randy Weaver (for example, there are many others) set the stage in which we can actually see the operation of the corrupt United States corporation, a government that is no longer the government of “We the people” outlined in the Constitution for the United States of America. How the government became a corrupt corporation is unknown to most all of us little guys.
    We want to return to a time in which we were not slaves to the corporation. We hope for solutions, the answers, the way of returning to the constitutional republic that will protect us and the generations to come. We know that if we do nothing, evil will prevail and countless generations will suffer as slaves in a new world order with corporative government as the master. We have discovered that politicians and poets cannot help us.
    We must do the research. We must reach out beyond ourselves, take up the cause, inform and help the people. We must understand how and why this happened. And, how we can put a stop to it. And, how we can ensure that it never happens again. The unconstitutional government corporation, the UNITED STATES must not be allowed to prevail. We the people must stand now..
    Your dissenting voice needs to be heard. Your ideas, knowledge and wisdom can help the people begin the struggle against the corporation, to regain our liberty. Justice can be restored. But how? Where do we start, and what can be done. “Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29-:37) “And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine… David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”
    The Lord will help us.
    Gerry, Your Question: Will we make it another winter? Answer: Only if we have a cause. Like the grass in your poem, we must stand and know that our seed will bring new life to the cause of Liberty!
    Dear Rainer, You ask – Do most know this, or are they in the dark? I think that the people are in the dark, having been falsely taught that the United States is the country/nation of The United States of America, when in fact the United States is a corporation, a person, a legal fiction.
    Dear Fonder, We must figure out how to un-doom ourselves. The cannibals must be stopped.

  25. Loved the poem. Causes one to wax nostalgic. I am reminded of my most favorite poem of Fall to winter by Rilke entitled “Herbstag” or translated…Autumn Day.
    If anyone is interested, the poem can be found here with accompanying translation.
    Thanks Gerry,

  26. Mohican Messenger

    The rays of your consciousness warm and swoop over the lodge,
    As the red-shouldered hawk does to its nest.

    A possum landscapes the shoulder of the drive while three deer lope across careful of footing.
    The blue jay nods and speaks of our friendship.

    Thanks blue-eyes. I’m perfect.

  27. Have been thinking about the reference to death since reading Gerry’s last posting. The best I can come up with: I am here, in this form, right now, and I can stand up straighter because of your journey, Gerry. Best of all, the faith and hope growing within me spills over in my relations with others. I’ve lost a lot this year – my home forclosed,
    severe family illness, but life is more than what I can hold in my hand.

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