Tuesday, January 08, 2008

January Thaw

Autumn was unseasonably warm with October temperatures as warm as August. The leaves fell from the trees far later than usual in mid-November. The first snow came the third week of November and then snowfall upon snowfall ever since. This week the temperatures are unseasonably warm again and we have had several days of grey fog as warm air hovers above the cold ground. Fall leaves were not raked before the snow came and now the bare, leaf-covered ground is once again exposed.

American poet Marge Piercy grew up in Detroit, Michigan and experienced the same winters as we do in southern Ontario. This is one of her earlier poems.

January Thaw

Six days
narrow as razors
yet wide enough
as that single bed
we slept on, tangled.

Deep enough to free fall
twined, dancing
through that huge temporary
space, wind whistling
the land turning
like the hands of a clock
the sun far below us.

Through dead winter
the chickadees are calling
as they do in spring
fe-ver, fe-ver rising,
descending sweetly.

A January thaw, country
roads turned chocolate pudding
our boots with sucking sounds
clambering over the still-
intact oak leaves
pages of an old diary
an old year
thrown off.

Marge Piercy


  1. Anonymous8:25 pm GMT-5

    This has been some thaw! Makes me have those feeling like I should be looking for American Woodcock displaying! Just a few months early for that!

  2. We had +7 a couple days ago and 2 heavy snowfalls today!

  3. We've had plus temperatures ourselves but today the temps were under 0 and we actually had some new snow.

    D is soaking in the tub with some Eucalyptus E.O drops. This cold is turning out a long haul for him. So far I've warded it off ... but can I hold out? I sure hope so! I positively HATE having a cold.

  4. I do not like these January thaws--I want a cold winter.
    But your photos and the poem are lovely.

  5. I am thoroughly disapproving of this rainy thaw. I just want a normal winter, at least in January. It can leave shortly thereafter if it wishes.

  6. A week ago, our highs were in the 20's and yet yesterday it was 71 degrees. I am not lying when I say that I caught a glimpse of green at the base of my Autumn Joy Sedum....baaawaaawaaaa. Please make it stop.

  7. Loved the poem! Appreciated the post to her page, too.

  8. Monarch- It does feel like March or April. But it won't last.

    Jean- It is kind of nice to walk on the pavement without boots for a while. We will undoubtedly shovel again soon.

    CS- Hope you are still healthy. Fresh air and exercise surely helps and you get plenty of both.

    KGMom- Thanks. January thaws are infamous, and we know winter is not yet over.

    AC- This will ruin Ottawa's winter party if it continues. Hopefully the canal is still frozen.

    Jayne- Last year at this time it was very warm and we had no snow. I had all kinds of things growing in the garden. But winter did come.

    Rondi- I wish I could write poetry that is as descriptive and lovely. I am glad others can.

  9. Beautiful photos! And the poem matches them so well. Thanks.

  10. Gorgeous photos to accompany an interesting poem!

  11. Anonymous1:25 pm GMT-5

    Beautiful! I also love your bird photos in the previous post. -- We're experiencing a thaw too. I posted about the effect it seems to have had on my 19 year old cat. (Come and see us, if you like.)


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