That grand old poem called Winter

That grand old poem called Winter

To celebrate the winter solstice, a few crisp quotations.  I loved Thoreau’s description of winter as an epic in blank verse, and his words are themselves a grand old poem.  Enjoy. ‘That grand old poem called Winter … What a poem!  an epic in blank...
Nature like an athlete

Nature like an athlete

How wonderful to portray nature beefing herself up to wrestle with winter, stripping off all superfluity such as leaves, the better to grapple with cold and frost. ‘Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great...
Sign of the clime

Sign of the clime

A ready way to reckon with the weather, according to an old boy Thoreau knew.  Can’t really go wrong with this formula. Old John Nutting used to say, “when it is cold it is a sign it’s going to be warm,” and “When it’s warm...
Wild-looking grass

Wild-looking grass

One of the landscape changes of recent years is the steady return of wild-looking grass where previously there were endless, weedless swards of emerald green lawn.  The more varied it is, the more I wonder how many insects and small creatures live there relatively...
Silver-plated water

Silver-plated water

I have seen beaten-bronze and copper-coloured water, but never silver-plated. ‘The cool, placid, silver-plated water at even coolly awaits the frost.’ 16 Oct 1859 Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R....
Craven-hearted neighbours

Craven-hearted neighbours

This refers to Thoreau’s outrage at the callous reaction of his neighbours to the death of John Brown on the grounds that he ‘threw his life away! – what way would they have thrown their lives, pray?’ ‘It galls me to listen to the remarks...
Finger-cold evening

Finger-cold evening

A great way to convey a chill in the air cold enough to affect the extremities.  Also like the idea of improving an evening by pulling up turnips. ‘Another finger-cold evening, which I improve in pulling up turnips.’   21 Nov 1860 Source: Henry David...
Glaucous-green field

Glaucous-green field

I found myself wondering just what shade of green is glaucous, and learning that it is either ‘a dull greyish-green or blue’, or a ‘pale greyish or bluish’ and also refers to being covered in a powdery bloom as on grapes.  A fine alliterative...
Slate-colored snowbirds

Slate-colored snowbirds

Firstly, I like the idea of a ‘snow’ bird being the colour of slate.  And being obsessed with colours and the names we give them, I notice how many hues and shades can only be described in reference to something of that colour.  Elsewhere Thoreau describes...

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