[Poetry Friday] Waiting for Something while “Winter is Coming”

poetry friday

Myra here.

It is me again, joining the Poetry Friday community that is hosted this week by one of my favourite bloggers, Tabatha Yeatts from The Opposite of Indifference.

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While this book is technically not about dragons, mermaids, and vampires – it does speak about a different way of seeing and being – which is how fantasy is born. The quiet that is required, allowing beauty to emerge, in all its winter-y glory.


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Winter Is Coming

Written by: Tony Johnston Illustrated by: Jim LaMarche
Published by: A Paula Wiseman Book: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ISBN: 1442472510 (ISBN13: 9781442472518) 
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

The first book I read of Tony Johnston was Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace which turned me into a veritable fan. While this book is not what one would call a collection of poems, the whole narrative is broken down into lyrical verse that (thankfully) does not rhyme and does tell a beautiful story of the season passing, the imagery filling one’s sensibilities with quiet and beauty. Even the endpapers are gorgeous (see below):

Here, the reader is introduced to a young, introspective girl who experiences the outdoors, observing the natural world around her, sniffing the air for the scent of winter, and recording what she sees in a notebook that she brings everywhere with her.

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The girl draws what she sees in her notebook, magnified by the telescope that she oftentimes brings along with her. Nothing escapes her notice, not the lynx with the Egypt eyes and the colour of the moon, its wildness something that she takes note of:

My mother says wild things

are full of light. I believe that.

I stay quiet, quiet

to keep it here –

for a moment.

If there is anything I love about December, it is the quiet hush it brings as a new year is ushered in – like the sound of the last note in a concert that has moved you to tears, or the last word in a life-changing book. Yet it is never quite so final, because there is also the feeling of anticipation for that which is to come next. The quiet waiting that calms the heart. Which is the reason why I am sharing this fragment from the book as my Poetry Friday offering this week:

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Today no animals come.

Not one.

The clearing and the trees are filled with

silence.

And wildness.

And cold.

They are waiting for something.

Winter is coming.

May whoever it is (or whatever wild thing) you are waiting for come soon, come quick. Happy holidays, dear friends.

9 Comments on [Poetry Friday] Waiting for Something while “Winter is Coming”

  1. I love this book and am so happy you reminded me to pull it out of the cupboard, revisit it and share it with my students. Also, I didn’t know about Voices from Afar: Poems of Peace and will certainly check that out. Thanks!

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  2. Gorgeous, Myra! I am running out the door to get this book today. “The quiet waiting that calms the heart..” Just beautiful as is your poem offering! Thank you, Myra!

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  3. I have and love this book, Myra. My youngest granddaughter and I just read it this week. Indeed, winter is coming here, snow and very cold predicted for the weekend. May your holidays be merry and bright!

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  4. Thanks so much for featuring this book — wasn’t familiar with it, though I do love Jim LaMarche’s work. Will have to look for it soon.

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  5. What a cool place she has to sit and be quiet! Lovely thoughts, Myra. Wishing the same to you.

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  6. One of my favorite books. Just read it with my grandsons (three brothers) who passionately fill journals with their drawing, sketching, drawing.

    I love your words: “If there is anything I love about December, it is the quiet hush it brings as a new year is ushered in – like the sound of the last note in a concert that has moved you to tears, or the last word in a life-changing book. Yet it is never quite so final, because there is also the feeling of anticipation for that which is to come next. “

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  7. It looks like a beautiful book filled with the “peace of wild things.” Isn’t that a Wendell Berry poem title? Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas, Myra!

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  8. Very seasonal and peaceful. A welcome respite from the holiday craziness that is nearing crescendo.

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  9. I especially agree about the silence today — our world is shrouded in a layer of ice. And yet…who’s that I hear? A wren is belting out a cheery song!

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