Snow Flakes Poem: How the Sky Makes Poetry from Pain

Snow Flakes poem cover image

With Christman around and finally some joy can be found amidst this year of struggle and pandemonium, I think Snow Flakes poem by H.W Longfellow is the perfect way to describe how the world is feeling at this moment. Let’s take a look at the poem and the vivid imagery it produces in the readers, eliciting the emotions that Longfellow must have felt. 

Snow-Flakes Poem

Out of the bosom of the Air,

    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,

Over the woodlands brown and bare,

    Over the harvest-fields forsaken,

      Silent, and soft, and slow

      Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take

    Suddenly shape in some divine expression,

Even as the troubled heart doth make

In the white countenance confession,

      The troubled sky reveals

      The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,

    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;

This is the secret of despair,

    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,

      Now whispered and revealed

      To wood and field.

A White blanket 

The power of Longfellow’s poetry comes from the vivid imagery and this poem is not an exception. The scene of a quiet world, dry and dead being slowly covered by a white blanket of snow. How we perceive and receive this snowfall and how it makes us feel. This poem is about the air, about the winds that blow, and the pain it carries in, the tears that dwell in the invisible world. With snowfall, it manifests into something real and covers us all.

Out of the bosom of the Air,

    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,

Over the woodlands brown and bare,

    Over the harvest-fields forsaken,

      Silent, and soft, and slow

      Descends the snow.

The spring, the summer, the fall has all come and gone. The earth has turned brown and dead, harvest fields have turned from lush green to barren brown. And in this motionless world slowly, snowflakes start descending from the sky. Always remember to visualize the scene if you want to savor Longfellow’s poems.

Even as our cloudy fancies take

    Suddenly shape in some divine expression,

Even as the troubled heart doth make

In the white countenance confession,

      The troubled sky reveals

      The grief it feels.

The scene of this white descent is magical, awe-inspiring. It molds our fancies and makes them bow to the divinity of the scene. We make confessions after looking at the white sky and the white ground. It is as if an angelic takeover. But the sky then reveals the grief it has been carrying all along. 

This is the poem of the air,

    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;

This is the secret of despair,

    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,

      Now whispered and revealed

      To wood and field.

The process of snowfall is the poetry of air, how elegantly and silently it is written. Here, the interpretation can be ambiguous and the one I’ll write will be our interpretation. 

Slowly in silent syllables recorded is about how the water from the earth is evaporated by the heat of the sun. This harsh sunlight heats the earth but the water slowly goes up, just to be converted into the snow, the poetry of the air. 

After the water gets too heavy for the clouds to hold, they release it in the form of delicate, beautiful crystals; snow-flakes. When the bosom is too heavy to hold the tears, it whispers. Notice how the clouds whisper when it snows. Had it been rain, the clouds would have roared. But poetry is gentle.

Conclusion

A beautiful poem about nature, about the arrival of snow and the ambiance it creates, music from silence. The way Longfellow adds meaning to snowflakes, something we’ve seen a lot but never had a thought about it. There is a visceral feeling when one sees the snowfall, but it is so hard to explain what. Longfellow describes that very feeling, exactly.

The surrounding slowly being covered with white flakes, there’s a wave of cold air and the world turns into monochrome. There is a gloom in the air as if the poetry of the air is not about something happy. There are pain, despair, and sadness in this poem. This concludes the article. 

If you like this poem, how about reading some more poems by H.W. Longfellow that we are certain that you’ll love. Take a look:

Snow-Flakes Poem by Longfellow
Snow-Flakes by H.W Longfellow

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