Ms. Quinson's 2011-2012 9H Blog

a place for students to express themselves

Winter Poems


Perhaps these poems will make us feel a little cooler….

Read both poems several times, and then write a response to one of them.  Your response should include many specific details from the poems and answer all or some of the following questions:

  • What happens in the poems?
  • What literary devices do I see?
  • What are the literary devices suppose to show or teach the reader? Why might the poet have included them?
  • What are the purposes or underlying meanings of the poems?  Do they have similar purposes?  If so, why are they different?
Be sure also to comment on at least one of your classmates comments in this thread.  When you respond to your classmates, be sure to comment on the poem for which you did not write your own response.


The days are short
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor
And parkas pile up
Near the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees’ black lace

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

–John Updike

By Morning

Some for everyone

and more coming

Fresh      dainty      airily      arriving
everywhere at once

Transparent at first
each faint slice
slow       soundlessly tumbling

then quickly thickly a gracious fleece
will spread like youth      like wheat
over the city

Each building will be         a hill
all sharps made round

dark worn noisy narrows made still
wide       flat      clean      spaces

Streets will be      fields
cars be      fumbling sheep

A deep bright harvest will be seeded
in a night

By morning we’ll be      children
feeding on manna

a new loaf on every doorsill

–May Swenson

(In the Bible, manna was food that was miraculously provided for the Israelites in the wilderness.)

by posted under Poetry | 66 Comments »    
66 Comments to

“Winter Poems”

  1. May 31st, 2012 at 2:30 pm      Reply carlya1 Says:

    I chose to analyze January. In this poem, the poet is describing the actions that happens in the cold, winter months. In the winter, the hours of sunlight get shorter, the weather gets colder, the amount of clothing people wear increase, rivers freeze, and the heat in homes is used more than in the warmer months. Children play outside in the snow and trek through the house in their wet, snow covered boots. The author is trying describe a typical winter day. He uses personification in the last stanza when he says the radiator purrs all day. He used this to convey what a radiator sounds like. I feel that the poems aren’t alike beause the first poem, january, is about a typical, relaxing winter day and the second poem, By Morning, is about the hustle and bustle of a busy morning.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 3:14 pm      Reply elizabethp4 Says:

      I agree, the two poems aren’t really all that similar except for their references to children.

      • May 31st, 2012 at 5:44 pm      Reply lucyl2 Says:

        But are children really referenced in January?

        • May 31st, 2012 at 5:50 pm      Reply amandaj3 Says:

          When are children referenced in “January”?

          • May 31st, 2012 at 5:59 pm      Reply Ben E. Says:

            They sort of are,

            Fat snowy footsteps
            Track the floor
            And parkas pile up
            Near the door.

            That is about the children coming in after playing in the snow.

            • May 31st, 2012 at 6:16 pm      Reply amandaj3 Says:

              It doesn’t directly say anything about children but you can inference that the children are making the “fat snowy footsteps”. I get where you’re coming from but it doesn’t have to be children making those footsteps, even if it does make more sense for it to be children.

      • May 31st, 2012 at 7:55 pm      Reply Anton Says:

        they also both mention how things quite/slow down

    • May 31st, 2012 at 7:57 pm      Reply Anton Says:

      I feel as if the personification with the radiator is intended to make it feel more cozy, and even alive.

  2. May 31st, 2012 at 3:13 pm      Reply elizabethp4 Says:

    I chose to analyze By Morning. This poem is about how the world becomes young once more, and returns to its original state. It’s kind of the author’s imagination, with bread reappearing, his memories coming to life. But it’s not the author’s memories, for nobody is as old as the hills back before they were flattened for buildings. I love the imagery, with everything recent – streets, cars, buildings – returning to nature. There are a lot of references to the five senses: “slow soundlessly tumbling” tells the reader how silent it is; “gracious fleece” gives a very fluffy and soft idea to the reader, clouding one’s mind with ideas of warm cuddly things. The whole poem is very descriptive. There are also a lot of similes: “a gracious fleece will spread like youth like wheat over the city”. I’m not quite sure what the poem means, but I think it’s referring to how the world has changed- as well as the author.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 5:21 pm      Reply coryannm2 Says:

      I agree, By Morning is kinda describes the world awakening.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 5:37 pm      Reply johnk4 Says:

      I disagree. I think it is about the world changing and evolving, creating new opportunities.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 5:39 pm      Reply shianak3 Says:

      I like your idea but I think John is right. It’s similar to the poem we read in class about the direction to take. I think the poem is about the different oppurtunities we’ll have as time goes on.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 6:38 pm      Reply nikital Says:

      The poem By Morning by May Swenson seems to be about the beauty of a snowy, winter day. The flakes float gracefully down from the sky. They are transparent at first, each individual flake “slowly, soundlessly tumbling”, and yet later a “deep bright harvest will be seeded in the night”. This thick sheet of snow, as we know from experience, will round out the sharp edges of a building and fill in the deep grooves with snow. It will allow the streets to look like they are packed with sheep grazing and wallowing in a meadow of glistening, white flowers. This snow will also bring out the children in everyone’s hearts. Manna has in fact been miraculously provided from the heavens, and the belief comes forth once again. With a new loaf at every door, the people race out to play in the white wonderland. Thus, the snow brings peace, revival, and joy to all by morning.
      In her poem, Swenson also includes a variety of literary devices. Similes are used, for a “gracious fleece / will spread like youth, like wheat / over the city”. Metaphors are also common when “the streets will be fields”, “each building will be a hill”, and “cars be fumbling sheep”. On top of this, there is evidence of personification in the poem, as “each faint slice”, transparent at first, slowly and soundlessly tumbles. Finally, a hyperbole is found at the beginning of the poem when the snow is “everywhere at once”, as it is not possible to be.
      Both of the poems January and By Morning display similar opinions of winter. It appears to be a lovely, peaceful time, when the lake is frozen, and the cars are still. When a white fleece covers the ground, the days are short, and the sky is low. Though it may seem a miserable landscape at times, there is beauty in it, beauty that both of these poets had successfully set out to recognize again.

      • May 31st, 2012 at 6:42 pm      Reply nikital Says:

        The whole poem, of course, I see as imagery.

      • May 31st, 2012 at 8:54 pm      Reply briannab3 Says:

        I agree with you that both poems described winter as a beautiful time that is peaceful and snowy, if you look for the beauty in the scenery.

      • May 31st, 2012 at 10:15 pm      Reply leonl2 Says:

        Wow this is an impressive comment. I too like the imagery used in this poem.

      • June 1st, 2012 at 12:11 am      Reply innag2 Says:

        I also really liked the imagery used in this poem. It really helped me envision everything that was going on in my head.

  3. May 31st, 2012 at 4:58 pm      Reply michaelt10 Says:

    I h=chose to analyze the poem “January”. Its purpose is to describe the feelings and natural occurrences of the month. The first stanza, the author compares the sun to a spark. This is because in the winter, the sun gives off less warmth and light. The second stanza talks about things that happen because of people, like footprints. In the third stanza, The frozen lake is compared to being held beneath the trees black lace. This shows how the trees no longer have their leaves. There are metaphors throughout the poem, and there is also a rhyme scheme. (ABCB DEFE GHIH JKLK )

  4. May 31st, 2012 at 5:31 pm      Reply coryannm2 Says:

    I chose to analyze the poem January. This poem describes the descent into the winter months. The days become short, the sky turns gray, and everything freezes over. This poem gives a sense of lethargy when you read it, almost as if the world is slowly coming to a stop. The author compares the trees’ branches to black lace. This comparison creates a nice image of the leafless trees on a winter day, but it also reminds me of death. Black, being a color associated with death and the bare trees also give a sense of something dying. I mean in stories you never hear of a leafy green tree in a cemetery, it is always bare and lifeless. The beginning of this poem gives a sense of slowness, but then at the end it says the radiator purrs all day. It gives the poem more life, and warmth. Throughout the rest of the poem all it speaks of is the cold, but then at the end there is heat, there is life within this frozen land. I don’t know if I’m pulling this life and death thing out of thin air, but the poem seems to suggest it.

  5. May 31st, 2012 at 5:35 pm      Reply johnk4 Says:

    “January” describes what happens in winter. It talks about how the daylight hours are shorter. Then it says that it has snowed recently and their boots are caked in snow. Then it describes a frozen river, under a tree without leaves. Finally it says that the heating was on all day. First I see a rhyme scheme; A, B, C, B then E, F, G, F and so forth. Also I see some personification. Parkas do not pile up. I see imagery in the entire poem. There are metaphors in the poem too. All of these literary devices are supposed to show a typical winter day. Maybe John Updike, the poet, asked by someone in the South how winter snow looked like. Both poems were meant to inform. However “Morning” was talking about a deeper thing then “January”. “Morning” was about the new beginning of everything after a day (Or any other length of time).

  6. May 31st, 2012 at 5:38 pm      Reply shianak3 Says:

    I chose the poem January because it gave me a clear visual image in my head. In the poem January, the second I read the first sentence I was able to see a connection, because it is true. This poem is straightforward. The rhyme scheme was (ABCB DEFE GHIH JKJK ). John Updike offers us his image of January and it is very similar to mine. The days are short in the winter, the sun is a small dot in the darkness, and we do wear heavy jackets. Updike uses many metaphors to further emphasize the visual perspective and add detail. He uses personification in the last sentence when he says the radiator “purrs. The poem January is very gloomy and dark which is a feeling one may come across during the dark winters while By Morning is more of a flashback on a new awakening. I was attracted to the poem January because I felt like it had a story behind it and more meaning.

  7. May 31st, 2012 at 5:41 pm      Reply Jesse Says:

    The poem January has a ABCB rythme scheme. I think the poet included that to make the poem easier to read. The poem is describing what winter is like in January. There are metaphors and personification that are being used to give the reader a good image of what winter’s like. He also describes what goes on during those days, such as children wearing parkas or people turning the radiator on. I don’t think that the second poem is anything like January because it is about busy morning life and has a completely different layout. However, I think both Poems are pretty.

  8. May 31st, 2012 at 5:42 pm      Reply lucyl2 Says:

    I chose to analyze the poem, By Morning. The poem is about how in the mornings, the world seems to start it’s life over again as well as the people in it. The author of the poem transfers city objects like buildings into nature. I think she does this to show that even if one day contains something gloomy like artificial buildings, cars, or streets, the morning provides a chance for something of natural beauty throughout the day. Just like humans wake up in the morning to start a new day, nature does as well. The May Swenson uses similes to convey her purpose through to the reader. By Morning also does not have a rhyme scheme. I find it interesting how even a poem that does not rhyme is still read with a rhythm in your head. This does not happen in a normal text. I also think that a theme to this poem is a new beginning. There is the beginning of the day which is signified by mornings. The beginning of time is showed through nature BEFORE there were buildings, roads, and cars. Also the youths in the poem signify the beginning of a person’s life.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 7:03 pm      Reply anjuv1 Says:

      Very nice post! I agree with everything you said! I love how you described what the author was trying to portray.

      • May 31st, 2012 at 8:19 pm      Reply nicolea4 Says:

        I love how you analyzed the poem also! I agree with everything! I definitely think what you wrote about was what we were meant to take from the poem.

  9. May 31st, 2012 at 6:19 pm      Reply johnw2 Says:

    The poem January is a very simple poem. It tells of a regular January day, with the radiator running and the many snowy foot prints on the doorstep. This poem follows a simple pattern of ABCB DEFE GHIH JKLK. I feel that this is a literal poem that has no hidden meaning to it. The author is simply talking about a snowy January day. One aspect that I find interesting is how a simple poem like January can be understood in many ways. Too me this poem could mean literally a day in January. Where as someone else could think it is about a man collecting his thoughts about life a certain time. Poetry is one of the most open ended sects of writing. It is using very few words to describe a complex thought that only the writer understands. Analyzing poetry is trying to decode the authors meaning in his few amount of words. That is what I feel analyzing poetry truly is.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 6:45 pm      Reply nikital Says:

      I’m pretty sure we’ve already tied it to a chair, but have we finally tortured confessions out of it? By the end of the night, we definitely will have done so.

  10. May 31st, 2012 at 6:33 pm      Reply Ben E. Says:

    I chose to do the poem By Morning. This poem is about the cyclic fashion of life. It is about both new beginnings and old memories. The references to the past convey the memories. The poet relates these memories to modern day things such as buildings to hills. These relations were metaphors. It made us imagine our world in a different way. The other thing i noticed was the way the words were spaced. This adds rhythm to the poem. Each time there is a major space you pause for a second. I also think that a hidden theme in this poem is a modern ancient life. Throughout the poem there are mentions of something coming and spreading across the city in the poem. There are also mentions of a lot of agriculture. Cars are sheep, kids are wheat. Then the poem ends talking about how everyone has food on their doorstep just like the Israelites with the manna. I am a little unsure as to what this means, but I think it might literally mean how miraculous it is we all have food in our houses every day. I find these two poems to be mostly different in the messages they are conveying. The setting in January is confined to a house and it is very cold, whereas By Morning is showing an entire city as the sun comes up. These two poems are a good edition to our unit.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 6:41 pm      Reply nikital Says:

      Honestly, I believe that By Morning is a poem speaking of the beauty and peacefullness of a snowy day. That’s what I did my blog about today.

  11. May 31st, 2012 at 6:48 pm      Reply bridgetd1 Says:

    I chose to analyze By Morning by May Swenson. This po does not have a particular rhyme scheme. It is about snow and how it gives the world a new shine. Swenson wrote “dark worn noisy narrows made still wide flat clean spaces.” this mean that snow can make even the dirtiest places look clean. Although this poem is about snow it can be applied to life. The part of the poem “transparent at first each faint slices slow soundlessly(alliteration) tumbling” means that you may not realize at first that you have an opportunity. And “then quickly thickly(internal rhyme) a gracious fleece will spread like youth(simile) like wheat(simile) over the city” means that your opportunities may pass by very quickly and you have to be prepared to take it when it comes. I think that the last part of the poem “a deep bright harvest will be seeded in a night; by morning we’ll be children feeding on manna; a new loaf on every doorsill” means that over night sometimes peace comes to people and everyone wil get a new chance when they wake up in the morning.

  12. May 31st, 2012 at 6:59 pm      Reply amandaf2 Says:

    The poem January describes the winter. The speaker is describing actions that take place during the month of January. I think that this poem is fairly simple, and that there is no hidden meaning in it. it is clearly just describing a winter’s day. It describes the radiator, the footprints, the snow-covered trees, and many more things associated with the winter. In this poem there is a lot of personification. For example, the “radiator Purrs all day.” There is also imagery of the month January. This poem has a rhyme scheme of ABCB DEFE GHIH JKLK. This in my opinion adds to the simplicity of the poem. Overall, I think that this poem is simple and pretty. In my opinion, it has no other meaning than just describing a winter’s day in January.

  13. May 31st, 2012 at 7:06 pm      Reply amandaj3 Says:

    I chose to analyze the poem “By Morning” by May Swenson. As I was rereading the poem, I realized that most of the poem was about winter. After all, why would Ms. Quinson title tonight’s blog, “Winter Poems”? The poem portrays a sense of beauty in winter and snow. I have evidence! The following text that is bolded shows how the poem conveys the true magnificence (lack of words) of snow:

    “Some for everyone,
    plenty, and more coming-

    fresh, dainty, airily arriving
    everywhere at once,

    transparent at first,
    each faint slice-
    slow, soundlessly tumbling;

    then quickly, thickly. a gracious fleece
    will spread like youth, like wheat,
    over the city.

    Towards the end of the poem, Swenson writes, “a deep, bright harvest will be seeded
    in a night. By morning we’ll be children, feeding on manna, a new loaf on every doorsill.” In this stanza, I think Swenson writes about spring coming after the winter, kind of how morning comes after night.

    I chose this poem because I honestly thought it was a beautiful poem to read. “By Morning” is a just a simple poem about winter and spring coming after. When I was reading “January”, I wasn’t that particularly interested in it. “January” was beautiful also but I just felt more fascinated by “By Morning”. Swenson’s words captured me as I read it while Updike’s did not. I also noticed some metaphors, similes, and beyond beautiful imagery. I usually don’t like the winter but this poem made winter sound wonderful. I thought the whole poem was lovely.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 8:33 pm      Reply kevinj3 Says:

      Because of your find of the words to describe snow, I saw how the poem was related more to winter. However, I thought Updike’s words were more effective. They really captured the bleak feeling of the winter season.

      • May 31st, 2012 at 9:02 pm      Reply nicholasm14 Says:

        In the bleakness of a field of snow in winter, isn’t there also beauty? That was what the author of “By Morning” was trying to emphasize.

  14. May 31st, 2012 at 7:18 pm      Reply anjuv1 Says:

    I chose to write about the first poem, “January”. This poem was very simple and throughout the whole time reading it, I thought of it had a very soft hushed feel. The author talks about the events that happen during the season of May. This poem really didn’t seem to have a secret or hidden meaning. The purpose of it was to explain the actions that take place during the season. The author states many events that take place like: the frozen river, and the heavy footsteps in the snow. The speaker of this poem used many different literary devices. He uses personification as well as the concept of imagery. Also the use of metaphors was seen in this poem. I find this poem to be very pure and simplistic.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 9:12 pm      Reply nicholasm14 Says:

      The poem definitely is pure and simplistic, just like winter. When looking upon a field of snow, every is simplified. I found this in “By Morning,” in which the sharp-edged buildings become rounded and the road becomes a field of snow. I believe that both poems are meant to describe the beauty and simplicity of the winter.

  15. May 31st, 2012 at 7:54 pm      Reply Anton Says:

    Both poems involve a lot of slowing down after snow comes. I shall analyze “By morning.” It begins by saying there is enough snow for everyone. When you think about it, a lot of snow does fall, whenever it snows. The total surface area covered with a blanket is amazing. It then has how it arrives everywhere at once, but lightly, a few snowflakes at a time. “airily arriving” is also an example of alteration. It talks about how quietly and slowly the snow builds. However slowly it may fall, it collects and begin landing astonishingly quickly. With this blanket, man-made objects become natural ones. Houses become hills, streets become fields, and cars become sheep. Everything seems to slow down and become quite. Then overnight it end, but a great deal more falls, and people are (by how deep this snow appears to be) confined to their homes, and people eat what they happened to have. There is a rather long metaphor in the middle, presenting man made objects as parts of nature. It seems to serve the purpose of really humble mankind by its size and showing how we are part of nature as well.

  16. May 31st, 2012 at 8:02 pm      Reply benjaminf Says:

    Yes, Anju I agree with you, there was really only literal meaning in this poem. Very different from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

  17. May 31st, 2012 at 8:14 pm      Reply nicolea4 Says:

    I chose to analyze the poem, January, and I really like it. In this poem, the poet is describing the season of winter and the events that take place during these months. He uses personification by writing that the radiator purrs, since he is giving humanlike action to an inanimate object. This poem starts off by describing the small amount of daylight in the summer (a reference to the sky) and also ends with a line about the sky and another about the wind. This poem has a little bit of a gloomy feel but it also has a cozy feel. The poet writes about the short amount of daylight, the thick snow, the extra layers needed to be worn, the frozen river, and the sound of a home heated by a radiator. I do not think the poems are similar because January describes the calm, coolness of the winter months while By Morning describes the liveness of a busy morning. (Which is the only similarity I found since the radiators purring added more energy to the setting.)

  18. May 31st, 2012 at 8:30 pm      Reply kevinj3 Says:

    “January” is the poem I chose to analyze. In the first stanza, it describes the short days of winter, and the radiance of the sun. Then it shows the activity of people in winter, trudging along a path, possibly gathering firewood, or hunting for food. Everything is frozen and gray, and people mainly stay inside with the heat on. I think the poet was aiming to create a quiet, peaceful, but gloomy mood. His choice of words struck me as sad and mournful, such as dark, frozen, low, and gray. This represents the nature of the winter season, especially in the northern parts of our country. There, they have nothing but the harsh cold temperatures, and each other. The landscape is scarce, and it is breathtakingly quiet. I enjoyed this poem, and thought it was well-written, even though it apparently has no deeper meaning. The poet captures the feeling of the month of January well. There are numerous literary devices in this poem, although it is quite short. The first stanza says the sun is a spark, which is a metaphor. There is an example of personification, when Updike says that the radiators purr. Both of the winter poems convey a feeling of stillness and peace, which truly exemplifies how the season is.

  19. May 31st, 2012 at 8:30 pm      Reply kevinj3 Says:

    “January” is the poem I chose to analyze. In the first stanza, it describes the short days of winter, and the radiance of the sun. Then it shows the activity of people in winter, trudging along a path, possibly gathering firewood, or hunting for food. Everything is frozen and gray, and people mainly stay inside with the heat on. I think the poet was aiming to create a quiet, peaceful, but gloomy mood. His choice of words struck me as sad and mournful, such as dark, frozen, low, and gray. This represents the nature of the winter season, especially in the northern parts of our country. There, they have nothing but the harsh cold temperatures, and each other. The landscape is scarce, and it is breathtakingly quiet. I enjoyed this poem, and thought it was well-written, even though it apparently has no deeper meaning. The poet captures the feeling of the month of January well. There are numerous literary devices in this poem, although it is quite short. The first stanza says the sun is a spark, which is a metaphor. There is an example of personification, when Updike says that the radiators purr. Both of the winter poems convey a feeling of stillness and peace, which truly exemplifies how the season is.

  20. May 31st, 2012 at 8:46 pm      Reply benjaminf Says:

    I read the poem By Morning, the entire poem is the anticipation of a world full of snow on the morning following a snowy evening. Swenson writes that snow is plentiful and for everyone and it seems like nothing as it falls to the ground, but if you wait a little, then the end result is a white landscape. It made me think about how snow puts a cover over everything and gives a landscape a clean slate for a short amount of time. Especially in a city where there are dumpsters and alleys that do not look intriguing, when snow covers everything, all the unsightly things are covered and all the “sharps made round”. The manna is the snow that the children eat and the loaf of bread on every doorstep is the snow that fell on the respective doorsteps of all the civilians in the area in which the snow has fallen. I think that the literary purpose of this poem was to show the importance of snow because of its suspense and the magic that such little flakes can completely transform a huge landscape.

  21. May 31st, 2012 at 8:59 pm      Reply nicholasm14 Says:

    I chose to analyze the poem “By Morning” by May Swenson because it was more interesting me and had a deeper meaning. Both poems discussed the beauty of winter, but “By Morning” was also about a new beginning created by the snows of winter. The poem itself has no rhyme scheme, but it has a wonderful rhythm created by the spaces between words, which make you pause and reflect on the words the speaker is using to emphasize the things that the winter snows create. The poem is filled with similes (Ex: “a gracious fleece will spread like youth, like wheat over the city”), metaphors (Ex: “cars be fumbling sheep”), and personification. These literary devices help teach the reader about how snow changes the world and shapes into a new one, where things are different and new opportunities arise. The theme of “By Morning” is a new beginning. In this case, it is about the beginning created by morning as night becomes day and how snow brings the world backs to its beginning when there were fields and hills rather than roads and buildings. In addition, children are the beginning of life.
    Essentially, what happens in the poem is that the snows create beauty and make the world new again with new opportunities. The snows begin as beautiful individual flakes that float gracefully down to the ground, but eventually come together to cover the world in a blanket that gives it simplicity and beauty. The sharp-edged buildings become round as the snow envelops them, the white snow gives the dirty city a fresh and clean look, and it makes the loud noises of the city grow still. On a side note, this is something I personally love about snow. The snow drowns out sounds and makes everything serene and calm. Anyways, as the streets and cars are covered in the blanket of snow, they took on a new look: sheep fumbling through beautiful white fields. The world is new from the snow from the snow, and it brings out the inner child within all of us. With new loaves of manna on every doorstep, we are drawn out into the wonderfully beautiful land of snow.

  22. May 31st, 2012 at 9:13 pm      Reply carak1 Says:

    I decided to analyze “By Morning” because most people chose “January” and I am, like Liz, a rebel :). This poem is a very artistic way of describing a snowfall. It goes in depth with imagery to describe the precise movements of the snowflakes from stage to stage. This poem starts out softly, with the snow falling flake by flake and then sheet by sheet but soundlessly. It then progresses into a description of the blanket of snow that covers the city over night. The poem completes itself with the people awaking to a brand-new, pristine, snowy landscape, complete with the magical manna at your door. My favorite parts of the poem are the descriptions of the city and how it transforms into a rural landscape; buildings become hills, streets are fields, and cars are wandering sheep. When snow falls, it feels as if the world has been changed into the countryside. At night, the streets are near to deserted and I feel like the whole world is a perfected little snowflake in the snow globe that is the universe. I think this is the meaning of this poem: to convey the delightful barrenness of a blanket of snow in the morning.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 9:26 pm      Reply sarahb5 Says:

      I like how you said that it’s like one little snowflake in the snow globe of the universe. That was a really cool and creative idea. I also agree with what you said about the poem.

  23. May 31st, 2012 at 9:14 pm      Reply briannab3 Says:

    I chose to analyze the poem January. This is a simple poem with a ABCB rhyme scheme that portrays a snowy winter morning. It is a simplistic outlook on a day in January, where the sun is low in the sky for a short time in between the longer nights. The poet implies the presence of children by writing about fat footsteps in the snow and parkas piled by the door. It is talking about how children always go outside, leaving their marks in the blanket of white snow, and when they return to the house, they pile their snowy coats by the door. Updike uses personification by saying the radiator purrs all day long. This is describing the comforting noises it makes while warming the house and making it cozy. The two poems are both about the beauty of winter and the fascination of snow. They also include children especially enjoying the winter weather. However, January is a more straightforward poem written in a more intelligible way, whereas By Morning is more mysterious and requires more inferences to be made.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 10:01 pm      Reply Autumn N. Says:

      I think it’s interesting that you thought that Updike was describing the warming of the house but I thought he more describing the chill and sadness of winter. To the children it is great but now that he is older he sees more of the bitterness of winter. I thought it showed how our thoughts and opinions change throughout life.

  24. May 31st, 2012 at 9:20 pm      Reply tylerf2 Says:

    I chose to analyse the first poem, January, by John Updike. I personally believe that Updike is simply describing a typical winter day, where the days are short and the ground is packed with snow. He displays a lot of imagrey in this poem, describing the scenery and making the reader visualise the setting quite well. He describes how snowy footsteps from children track the floor when they come inside. He also describes the wilderness area of winter, stating how the river is “a frozen place” that is beneath the numerous trees in the wilderness. He is describing a typical winter day, using imagrey to really make the reader see what he sees in winter: true beauty.

    Both poems are similar in the way that they are both trying to put forth the true beauty of winter, but describe it in their own ways. While the first poem makes the reader imagine being in the peaceful wilderness, the second poem puts images of the city in the reader’s head, putting in images of buildings and city streets and “noisy narrows” However, both are depicting the winter as beautiful, just in their own ways. Both poems have the same meaning, and that is to unvail the true beauty of our world in the form of cold, beautious snow.

  25. May 31st, 2012 at 9:22 pm      Reply sarahb5 Says:

    The poem January is all about the winter. Each stanza describes a different aspect of the winter. The first one is about the shortness of the days and how the sun is low in the sky. The second one is about the clothing of winter with the snowy footprints of the boots and the parkas. The third stanza shows nature, how the lake is frozen and the trees are bare. The fourth one is about the coldness of winter and how you need to keep the radiator on all day to keep warm. The author uses personification and imagery in this poem. Throughout the whole poem you can see what a true January day is like. Also in the last stanza he says that the radiator purrs which is personification. I think he used these literary devices to give the reader a sense what a day in January is like. I can’t seem to find a deeper meaning to this poem except maybe that it’s saying how everything kind of slows down in the winter so it might mean that things slow down when you get sad and depressed, just like in the winter. That might not be right but that’s all I could really think of as a deeper meaning to this.

  26. May 31st, 2012 at 9:28 pm      Reply harrisond1 Says:

    I chose the read the poem “January”. It basically describes and sets the scene of winter during January. The first stanza describes the short, dark days of winter. Next, it shows the footprints of people who had trudged through the snow, possibly working or maybe just enjoying the wintry weather. I immediately thought of these people as kids, due to the parkas near the door and the fat footprints. It also gives dark imagery of the outdoors. Some examples of such are the frozen river, bare trees, and gray, cloudy sky. The radiator in the last line makes the mood more cozy and relaxing. This poem creates a dark, yet peaceful mood. This poem used imagery, metaphors, and personification. For example, it referred to the sun as a spark and said that the radiator purred, examples of a metaphor and personification. It also had a rhyme scheme: ABCB DEFE GHIH JKLK. I found this poem to be very well written, but I did not discover any hidden deeper meanings. For me, it seems to be a simplistic yet beautiful description of a typical winter day.

  27. May 31st, 2012 at 9:29 pm      Reply sabrinak1 Says:

    I wanted to analyze the first poem, January. The author of this poem describes the typical sights of the cold bleak winter month. He talks about the short days, cloudy skies, and the snow with wet soggy footprints. He makes this poem very clear that he is talking about children playing in the snow because he mentions the parkas piling up near the door and the snowing footsteps. I know my mother often is mad when I leave my coat by the door and track snow throughout the house so I made a connection to that. The poem says the heater is running all day just like every other home; the heater is on to battle the cold. This poem has a rhyme scheme of: abcb. This is simply to make the poem easier to read, it creates a steady rhythm to follow. The two poems are similar in that they are both about the wintertime and snow.

  28. May 31st, 2012 at 9:57 pm      Reply Autumn N. Says:

    I chose to analyze By Morning by May Swenson. In this poem, she has used precise wording to describe snowfall. At first it’s soft and barely there and then soon it covers the ground like a fleece. One particular stanza that interests me was:
    Each building will be a hill
    all sharps made round
    The snow rounds up the sharp edges and to me this kind of made me think of how snow makes people happier. Snow represents happiness and makes us reminiscent of snow days from childhood. It makes people less edgy. So while the poet was talking about the snow rounding edges physically, I thought of how it rounds out people. Swenson goes on to talk about how noisy places become still, streets become fields, and cars; sheep. She is saying that the once noisy and chaotic places become subdued by this snow. When the poet says:
    A deep bright harvest will be seeded
    in a night
    I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant. I’ve given it some thought and I’ve come up with two possibilities and either it means that people will begin trying to remove the snow or that even more snow will fall. I thought it was removing the snow because they mentioned harvest but then it said “seeded” and that means that it’s being planted and growing. Plus, the next line says:
    By morning we’ll be children
    feeding on manna
    Which means that this new blanket of snow will be there in the morning when they wake up, not cleared away.
    Overall, I think it’s a nice poem to describe winter snowfall and I think that May Swenson had a very interesting way of doing so.

  29. May 31st, 2012 at 10:07 pm      Reply leonl2 Says:

    In January, the poet uses a lot of imagery to describe the winter. He also gives examples of things that might occur during this time of year in sentences such as “parkas pile up near the door” and “The radiator purrs all day”. Speaking of which, purrs is a personification describing radiator.

    Perhaps the most perplexing line in this poem is in the third quatrain:

    The river is
    A frozen place
    Held still beneath
    The trees’ black lace

    Why does the poet use the term “black lace”? Another thing I noticed was the last sentence of each quatrain. Now, I may be tying this poem to a chair and beating it for answers, but I noticed that in the first quatrain the poet ends with The dark and dark., and then in the second quatrain he talks about parkas piling near doors. There is obviously contrast between these two phrases, one makes the reader feel dark and cold and the other warm. This happens again for the 3rd and 4th quatrain. It shifts from “black lace” to a radiator purring.

    I don’t seem to see any other symbolic meaning to this poem, but perhaps I am just blind. To me, this poem is nothing compared to one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and I liked the two poems we read in class today better than this one. Still, this poem is successful at painting a mental image of January in our brains, and we feel both the warm and cold aspects that come with winter.

  30. May 31st, 2012 at 10:21 pm      Reply alwynp2 Says:

    After reading each poem, I decided to talk about “January” by John Updike. In the first stanza, the author is telling that as winters arrive, the days get shorter. In the second stanza, he is saying that the footprints of the boots cover the floor and that the parkas are being piled up as the people come in. The river is frozen in place. He ends with saying that the radiator “purrs”. This is personification to compare the sound of the radiator running to a cat. I found it weird that the entire poem describes cold, but then the last line describes heat.

    • May 31st, 2012 at 11:18 pm      Reply anthonym9 Says:

      I agree with your last point. It is almost like Shakespeare’s poems because it has a sort of twist at the end.

  31. May 31st, 2012 at 11:17 pm      Reply anthonym9 Says:

    In the poem By Winter, the author is describing what his surroundings will look like after a snowstorm. He says that it will be a huge snowstorm because he said that the streets will be covered with snow and that it would extend far in all directions. I chose this poem because it was more catchy and descriptive than the other because it is actually describing the setting. He also said that snow is for everybody, but this is not true because some people hate snow. I love snow and this would be a perfect day for me and I can see the setting very clearly by the way the author describes it.

  32. June 1st, 2012 at 12:04 am      Reply innag2 Says:

    I chose the poem January by John Updike. For some reason, I just liked it more than the other poem. It really flows, and just has this rhythm and beat that I really like. In the poem, the author describes how January feels like. He talks about the short days, the snow that falls, the iced over rivers, the gray skies, and the radiator (heater) that works all day to keep the people warm. The author uses a rhyme scheme of ABCB DEFE GHIH KLML. He also uses personification with how the parkas pile up near the door, because parkas cannot pile up. He also uses a metaphor with the sun being a spark, because it is not really a spark between dark and dark, but looks like one because the days are so short that it only comes out for a little bit. The author also uses imagery to help us see the poem in our minds. He talks about the fat, snowy footsteps that track the floor, and the river that is frozen beneath the dark, desolate trees. I think he included all these things to make the reader understand the poem more, and to help the reader paint a picture in their minds. I certainly understand the poem, and I can see all these things that are happening in my mind.

  33. June 3rd, 2012 at 6:51 pm      Reply ashleys2 Says:

    I chose to analyze to poem January by John Updike. There is a lot of personification in this poem. For example, the radiator “purrs” all day. Also, there are metaphors, like the sun being a “spark” between dark and dark. This poem has a rhythm as well, and a rhyme scheme. The poem describes what happens in winter, like the weather, the footprints, and the river. The poems aren’t very similar, except for their references to children. In January, the stanza about the footprints and the parkas is talking about the children coming inside after playing in the snow.

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