Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday Poetry Blogging - Shakespeare's Winter Poem

Since it's turning cold again here in Michigan after an incredibly warm January, I thought it would be appropriate to quote Shakespeare today.

This poem, which concludes William Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost, has always moved me. (I'll share "Spring," the companion poem from this play, later.) Note the stark imagery ~ he paints a cold, frigid, and austere scene with words. You can feel the cold. You can hear the wind whip in Shakespeare's use of alliteration ~ the soft "w," "wh," and "h" sounds. Yet the merry sound of the owl's hoot is a distraction from the austerity and a reminder that life exists and cycles beyond the drudgery of the cold and harsh moment.

"Winter," from Love's Labours Lost

WHEN icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
To-whit!To-who!—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doe blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
To-whit!To-who!—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


Blogger Dean said...

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
-From:Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Frost is one of favorites and has been for a long time. I even tried to take on his style for a bit years ago when I fancied myself a poet. Some of the best poetry in the English language.
I arrived here via atrios's haloscan. Your Blog is VERY similar to my little newbie
(only better:-))Anyway, you
can't go wrong with Frost.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Dean said...

Damn, I new I'd mess that link up. Here's one more try, My Blog

8:43 PM  
Blogger rorschach said...

Huzzah! Not that it feels all that much wintery here in Texas.

And Frost, in my opinion, is a vastly overrated crank with little insight into anything.

But that's just me!

10:11 PM  
Blogger Thersites said...

Ah, Shakespeare. Lovely.

I went out with "greasy Joan" in high school.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Nim said...

"While greasy Joan doth keel the pot."

I think the bard meant, "While greasy Joan doth kill the POST.

He was talking about trolls.

10:26 PM  
Blogger FeralLiberal said...

Weird winter here, middle of Jan. and no snow since xmas. Beautiful poetry, but I can't relate right now without a fire in the fireplace and a blanket of white.

(Hey Vicki, finally got my blogger account fixed so I could comment here!)

10:42 PM  
Blogger Hecate said...

Well "all aloud the wind doe blow," is what's happening here this weekend. It's cold and windy. I'm longing for spring.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Hecate said...


Just got an email from my son raving about the shrimp. Thanks for the recipe!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Phila said...


Consider yourself tagged.

10:42 PM  

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