Poetry Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday] “Lines for Winter” by Mark Strand

Tell yourself as it gets cold and gray falls from the air that you will go on

poetry friday

Fats here.

We had a really nasty snowstorm last weekend. I was the Person-in-Charge (PIC) of our library last Friday and scheduled to work from 9:30 AM until closing at 6:15 PM. Fortunately, our library director got approval from the Board to close at noon that day. There was freezing rain by 2:30 PM, and about 6-7 inches of snow accumulated overnight. I know some places in the U.S. have it worse, but that 6-7 inches of snow was terrible enough for the small town of Wooster, Ohio.

I took this photo from the fogged-up window in our apartment on Friday afternoon.

People joke about Ohio weather, how it drastically changes from one day to the next. Just when you think it’s starting to warm up, Mother Nature interferes and reminds you that it’s still winter.

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary,
It rains, and the wind is never weary…
— Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

Today’s poem fits our still-chilly, still-dreary, sloppy-slushy weather. It’s a selection from The Poets Laureate Anthology, edited by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt, with a foreword by Billy Collins.


Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Kay
at A Journey Through the Pages.


Lines for Winter

for Ros Krauss
Tell yourself
 as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
 that you will go on
 walking, hearing
 the same tune no matter where
 you find yourself—
 inside the dome of dark
 or under the cracking white
 of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
 Tonight as it gets cold
 tell yourself
 what you know which is nothing
 but the tune your bones play
 as you keep going. And you will be able
 for once to lie down under the small fire
 of winter stars.
 And if it happens that you cannot
 go on or turn back
 and you find yourself
 where you will be at the end,
 tell yourself
 in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
 that you love what you are.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository


Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

5 comments on “[Poetry Friday] “Lines for Winter” by Mark Strand

  1. My uncle lives in Wooster, Ohio. I’m glad the library there has a smile painter like you to keep the books singing.


  2. We say that about Denver weather, too, Fats, always changing. I’m glad you got to get home before it really got bad! I love the voice in the poem, talking right to me!


  3. Diane Mayr

    We have that anthology in our library, too. It is a great collection–the best of America’s poets. Here in NH we say, if you don’t like the weather, wait a MINUTE!


  4. I feel like I’m sitting pretty with our summer weather at the moment. We’ve only had a few of the energy-sapping days where you drag yourself listlessly through wasted days and revive too-late at night. For the most part, summer has been lovely – which is not at all usual. (Very thankful, when I hear how Melbourne has been sizzling!)

    Ros Krauss’ poem kept taking unexpected turns that were lovely in themselves, and more so in the unexpectedness. Thank-you for sharing – and matching it so beautifully with your photos.


  5. I’m right next door in Indiana, and I agree wholeheartedly about the weather. This winter especially, it seems it can’t make up its mind. Thank you for sharing such a lovely winter poem to remind me to look for what is good.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: