On Year 5: January’s Poems
Back to school after the Christmas break, and the world is frozen and lonely and still. Spring is still a long way away, and somehow, we have to muddle through snow and sub-zero temperatures, through frozen pipes, through all the hard work required to keep the fires burning in the wood stoves.
Fortunately, at school, we don’t rely on wood fires. Still, the building is drafty, and not all the heat is distributed evenly throughout the different wings. I wear my mittens in class sometimes, and do not object if students wear coats and bring cups of hot chocolate. January is a long month, and just trying to stay warm enough is an adventure: trying to stay cheerful is sometimes an impossibility. Still, people write poems about January, about winter, about ice and snow, and we’ll read them when we find them. Here are some we’ve found:
January 5, Monday: “To the New Year” by W. S. Merwin
January 6, Tuesday: “Winter Love” by Linda Gregg
January 7, Wednesday: “Winter: Thirty Below with Sundogs” by Tom Hennen
January 8, Thursday: “Mailboxes in Late Winter” by Jeffrey Harrison
January 9, Friday: “Lines for Winter” by Dave Lucas
January 12, Monday: “In the Shed” by Mary Logue
January 13, Tuesday: “The Wood-Pile” by Robert Frost
January 14, Wednesday: “Walking Below Zero You Tell Yourself” by Debra Allbery
January 15, Thursday: ‘Tinnitus: Thin Rain Becoming Ice” by David Harsent
January 16, Friday: “Arrival” by Heidi Steidlmayer
January 19, Monday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day–not school
January 20, Tuesday: “Winter” by Billy Collins
January 21, Wednesday: “Lines for Winter” by Mark Strand
January 22, Thursday: “Winter Sun” by Molly Fisk
January 23, Friday: “Choices” by Tess Gallagher
January 26, Monday: “A Winter Night” by Robert Burns (because last night was Burns Night, and the NWS has posted a blizzard warning for Tuesday into Wednesday)
January 27, Tuesday: Blizzard day–no school.
January 28, Wednesday: “Snowfall” by Thom Gunn
January 29, Thursday:”January” (from “The Months”) by Linda Pastan
January 30, Friday: “Winter Landscape, with Rooks” by Sylvia Plath
And so January comes to a close, slowly but surely, in the midst of raging snow: Three snowstorms in the last week, but who’s counting? Have I ever mentioned how I hate winter? I hate it because it’s cold and hard and expensive, though occasionally starkly beautiful. Fortunately, there are multitudinous poems to get us through…and there are now only six more weeks until spring. We can make it.
P. S. As always, I’d be grateful for your suggestions for poems to get us through. Spring is coming! Keep the fire alive–and thanks!