And here is the weather forecast . . .

I hope you are snowed in and unable to go to work or to do any chores: forced to spend a day writing.

And if you do, will snow feature in whatever you write? A few weeks ago when we had the big winds across the UK I wondered if wind was cropping up in scenes in novels and stories all over the place. I wrote a poem called City Wind partly in answer to the wonderful and very rural Ted Hughes poem Wind (This house has been far out at sea all night).

There's a strange zeitgeist of the moment when a common event affects us all and is translated into our creative work, or so I imagine. Come on, own up if you've written about snow in the last twenty-four hours.

When I sat down to do my post for Strictly Writing on Sunday, all I could think of was . . .

Silent Sunday

Today we venture out of our front doors
like visitors in a foreign land
to find the greatest cover-up of all;
our cars are painted uniform
white and our gardens have dissolved.
To some this is the biggest show in town
presenting troupes in gloves and coats and hoods
up for play fights; you may talk to strangers.
London is one giant sculpture park.
A chance to walk the centre of the road.
To another this is inconvenience:
tubes are out and all the buses dead
a struggle just to go and get the news,
a danger to the old folk and the sick,
best to stay inside all day today,
fret about the walk to work tomorrow.
Others marvel at the change of scene:
how beauty has descended on this city,
softened every perpendicular
to moulded curves of crystal,
frozen foam that shines to dazzle and
yields with a delighted crunch.
Pass the camera, point it at our hedge.
Arching over all this, it is the sound
that enfolds this city in its thrall,
every human voice a lonely cry,
a closing door echoes down the street,
the squawk of a magpie hangs in the air
as we are transmuted to a London
of a hundred years ago or more.


Gillian McDade said...

Fantastic poem, Rod! Very atmospheric and captures the weather beautifully. My current WIP is partially set in Mauritius and thankfully my home town has been more like the Sahara in contrast to London. So no. No snow for me! I do tend to have a lot of rain and wind instead though.

Helen Black said...

I do think that weather impacts upon my writing, because although it's a cliched way to start any story or scene, the truth is, we humans have to frame our days around it.

In fact I've just finished Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow and whilst the book is a murder mystery, it's also a discussion about how most humans have lost their connection to the environment.

HB x
ps lots of snow here!!!

Roderic Vincent said...

Thanks, Gillian. Just doodling really.

I think it's always tempting to slip into pathetic fallacy too easily. Want your character to make a new start in life? Send her out into a snowy dawn.

JO said...

Weather can have a huge impact on the way we feel and behave (ask any primary school teacher trying to control a classroom of children during high winds). The task (as I see it) is to bring that into our writing without overdoing it.

DT said...

Crisp imagery and a great sense of gentle rhythm.

AliB said...

Hi Rod
Loved your poem - totally conjures up a snowy day (not that we have had one here - yet!) And thanks too for the reminder of Hughes. Reminds me of that Larkin one too 'The Wind blew all my wedding day ...' oddly similar in rhythm.

Fionnuala said...

Wow Rod, you have found your genre. A beautiful atmospheric piece of writing...

Fionnuala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susie Nott-Bower said...

Love your poem, Rod. Especially:
'softened every perpendicular
to moulded curves of crystal'.
I had to go and get my copy of Mary Oliver's fabulous, amazing poem about a bear in snow. It's called 'Driving Through The Wind River Reservation: A Poem of Black Bear' which begins:
'In the time of snow, in the time of sleep. The rivers themselves changed into links of white iron, holding everything.'
Thanks for reminding me.

Roderic Vincent said...

Thanks for the comments, and positive mentions of my doodle.

Jo, that's really interesting; I've never had to control a rowdy classroom. The weather affecting the people is one thing - it's just that in books and films it so often goes the other way round: just when the hero is downhearted it starts to rain. I think it's overdone.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Lovely poem, Rod!