Friday, January 11, 2013

In which I am forced to commune with nature in a foot of snow and write a bad poem about it

I am taking creative writing, which is great. I have been dying to take creative writing since I returned to college. However, I became less excited about it when I was told to go out into the woods and be still with nature and write a poem about it.

I like to think my teacher did not anticipate the discomfort of sitting in snow in the winter when she crafted this assignment; I assume it was a more temperate day or she lives in Florida, or something rational. Or perhaps she's mean, I'm not sure yet; it is only the second day of class.

But, I am committed to my writing so I took a plastic Wal-Mart folding chair into the snow and sat in it.  My bum was a mere inch above the snow, but luckily, it wasn't an aggressive-chair-climbing-bum-attacking kind of snow.  the snow stayed right were it was, one inch below my posterior.

I looked at snow and thought poetic thoughts. I looked very closely at the snow. I noted how the sparkle was burning my retinas. I wrote poetic thoughts:

I brought to the woods, a folding chair
because the snow was deep.

I looked up, and what was looking right back at me? A deer? No. A rabbit/skunk/squirrel/chipmunk/bear? None of those, either. It was a trail cam. You know, one of those things hunters and nature enthusiasts put in the woods to take pictures of wildlife.  Great, I went to the woods to be alone, and now I can't even wipe my nose on my sleeve without someone watching. Not that I would ever do that, obviously.

I looked down. Inside my footprints were lots of specks. I would venture a disproportionate number of brown specks in white footprints in the middle of nowhere. I looked at my boots. They did not appear muddy. I suddenly remembered someone once said something about snow fleas, or was it snow lice? I put my head down to investigate, but seeing as I didn't know if they were actual bugs or not, I didn't know if they jumped. I decided not to look to closely.

I tried again to think poetically.

I brought to the woods a folding chair
because the snow was deep
the animals were hibernating
the bears were all asleep

from a branch the snow did fall
my poem sucks giant donkey balls.

I gave up and spent the rest of the day at a snow bonfire drinking adult beverages and making tiny snow men because I was feeling creative but too lazy to get up and make a big one.

I actually spent several days working on my bad snow poem trying to make it better, and I think I finally did.  I think it is probably the longest I ever worked on a poem, particularly one I did not care anything about.

No, you voyeurs, I'm not printing my finished poem here, unless you comment a lot and request me to, because then you could secretly ridicule my poem in your heads but I would get page views out of it, and page views stroke my ego and make me feel warm and fuzzy, so it would balance out.


  1. My Fav Winter poem:

    Ladies and Gentleman
    take my advice
    Pull down your pants
    and slide on the ice.

    Now post yours!

  2. Here is a beautiful poem by Sylvia Plath to help inspire you! :)

    Winter Trees
    - Sylvia Plath

    The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
    On their blotter of fog the trees
    Seem a botanical drawing -
    Memories growing, ring on ring,
    A series of weddings.

    Knowing neither abortions nor bitchery,
    Truer than women,
    They seed so effortlessly!
    Tasting the winds, that are footless,
    Waist-deep in history -

    Full of wings, otherworldliness.
    In this, they are Ledas.
    O mother of leaves and sweetness
    Who are these pietas?
    The shadows of ringdoves chanting, but easing nothing.

    1. Wow, thank you! I have never seen this one of hers before.

    2. I think your first poem was pretty good. Very vivid imagery. :)

  3. Here is what I turned in:

    Skeletal stillness of bare branches
    against white on darker white of snow
    Hard angled ice chips dance in sunlight
    Childhood sidewalks
    Of soft sparkling quartz

    snow falls from a branch
    no wind to provoke it
    or animal chatter to explain
    it falls because it must;
    it is destined to fall from the moment
    it chose to rest on this branch
    villainous sun disturbing its rest, warming it, enticing it

    Slide, it says,
    Give up your intolerable peace
    join your companion snow below
    remain in the grey shadows
    without a hint of brown, or glacial cerulean
    the sun can not reach you here
    to disturb your peace or make you sparkle


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