Poetry Friday: Snow-Bound By Whittier

Welcome to my newest feature: Poetry Friday! Every third Friday of the month I will share snippets of poems I love and share my thoughts!

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.

Read the poem here on the Poetry Foundation’s website.

So begins John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1866 book-length poem Snow-Bound. I thought this poem would be appropriate for December when I’m romanticizing about being shut inside for a day or two during a snowstorm. Of course, the romance quickly diminishes once one has been in closed quarters for too long.

I first read this poem in junior high as one of my quarterly lit projects. Each quarter we were given a choice of books to read, and then we did fun activities and reviews of the books. I always chose the most difficult books; it should come as no surprise that such a long poem was considered the difficult book for that particular quarter. The initial foreboding I experienced at the thought of reading such a long poem was quickly relieved as I began to really get into the saga. For that reason (and that it’s so well written) this poem has been in the back of my mind since reading it.

Have you ever read Snow-Bound or any of Whittier’s other poems? Do you have fond memories of junior high required reading?