“The fruition of the year had come and the night should have been fine with a moon in the sky and the crisp sharp promise of frost in the air, but it wasn’t that way.” ~ Sherwood Anderson, from Winesburg, Ohio

John Fabian Carlson River in Winter oil on canvas nd
“River in Winter” (nd, oil on canvas)
by John Fabian Carlson


The weather is calling for a massive winter storm. It was 62 degrees today. Does this make any sense? Well, I wanted snow, I suppose.

John Fabian Carlson WInter Willows c1935
“Winter Willows” (c1935)
by John Fabian Carlson

Bright Sun after Heavy Snow

A ledge of ice slides from the eaves,
piercing the crusted drift. Astonishing
how even a little violence
eases the mind.

In this extreme state of light
everything seems flawed: the streaked
pane, the forced bulbs on the sill
that refuse to bloom . . . A wad of dust
rolls like a desert weed
over the drafty floor.

Again I recall a neighbor’s
small affront — it rises in my mind
like the huge banks of snow along the road:
the plow, passing up and down all day,
pushes them higher and higher…

The shadow of smoke rising from the chimney
moves abruptly over the yard.
The clothesline rises in the wind. One
wooden pin is left, solitary as a finger;
it, too, rises and falls.

~ Jane Kenyon


John Fabian Carlson Windswept Places, oil on canvas nd
“Windswept Places” (nd, oil on canvas)
by John Fabian Carlson

Snow at the Farm

My father gets his tractor out.
It is winter, finally—the first
big snow of the year—and

he is eighty-four. He does not leap
into the seat the way that I
remember, but once he’s there

he pulls down the brim of his cap,
and all-in-one his legs and arms
work at clutches, throttles, and

levers as he pushes and loads
the snow into neat hills at
the edge of the yard. The sun

is a bright shield in the sky,
something I cannot bear to look at,
and the snow is so white that

it shows black where the plow
cuts in. From the kitchen window
I watch the red tractor moving

back and forth through the blue
and white world, my father’s
hands at the wheel.

~ Joyce Sutphen


Music by Lottie Kestner, “Halo”