Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

Sandy Solomon: In Deepest February

Across the eerie silence of the snowstorm—

no cars going by, people settled in

for the night—comes a rending sound like a shot

then a clatter that smacks of the ground

as if among these fraying clumps of flakes

a larger piece of sky had tumbled down.

The heavy snow has split the oak out front,

its right branch lodges in a parked car’s roof

and splays across the windshield and the hood.

What’s left lists as if a strong wind bent

and held it down. Nearby, another burst

or crack and then a crash, and again and again,

as if a hand worked steadily to thin the street,

tree after tree after tree, of its company.


A body only takes so much, of course,

before it goes to gravity. But so many

and all at once? At intervals the air

trembles as the next gives up, gives it up—

what, in limbs or heartwood, survival costs—

until street, cars, walks, and gardens groan

with twisted branches, torn trunks as if war

of some unthinkable kind had fingered trees

and trees alone. And though the mind consoles

with the prospect of new growth, tonight snow,

culprit snow, everywhere throws curves

as it mounts in immaculate drifts and depressions,

while the survivors stand, gashed and sad, in the streetlight,

and some will not survive this hurt at all.

Copyright 1996 Sandy Solomon. First published in Pears, Lake, Sun by University of Pittsburgh Press. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author. 

Oak broken by snow (Source: Michael Davis Insurance Agency)

3 comments on “Sandy Solomon: In Deepest February

  1. Barbara Huntington
    February 4, 2021

    Beautiful. I live in Southern California but not unaware of natural changes and times of gentle force. Sharing this with my daughter in Colorado.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rosemaryboehm
    February 4, 2021

    “…while the survivors stand, gashed and sad, in the streetlight,

    and some will not survive this hurt at all.”


    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on February 4, 2021 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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