On Year 5: January’s Poems

wood pile

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

Debra Allbery

Debra Allbery

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

Heidy Steidlmayer

Heidy Steidlmayer

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.

Molly Fisk

Molly Fisk

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!

1 Comment

  1. portlandfriendsmeeting

    Re February – what about a bit of Spenser’s Faerie Queen? He lists February as the last month of the year:

    And lastly, came cold February, sitting
    in an old wagon, for he could not ride,
    drawn of two fishes for the season fitting,
    which through the flood before did softly slide
    and swim away: yet had he by his side
    his plough and harness fit to till the ground
    and tools to prune the trees, before the pride
    of hasting Prime did make them burgeon round:
    so passed the twelve Months forth, and their due places found.


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