My Cart 


The Snow Storm
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

This poem is in the public domain.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882) was an American poet, essayist, and philosopher. Born and raised in Boston, he attended both Harvard University and Harvard School of Divinity, but was not a particularly impressive student. "Waldo," as he preferred to be called, worked as a schoolteacher and Unitarian minister before devoting himself to a career in writing and public speaking. A close friend of Henry David Thoreau, Nathanial Hawthorne, the Alcott family, and Napoleon Bonaparte's nephew, Prince Achille Murat, he was also instrumental in establishing Walt Whitman's reputation as a poet. A strong abolitionist and passionate Transcendentalist, Emerson was one of the foremost personalities of the 19th century; his philosphies and writings had tremendous impact on America's political, religious, and literary arenas. Unfortunately, he knew much sorrow in his life, including the death of his father when he was only eight, the death of his first wife after only a year and a half of marriage, the death of both his young sons, and a fire at his home in Concord, Massachusetts. (Friends took up a collection to pay for the restoration, Emerson lived in it until his death, and the house is now a National Historic Landmark.)


Post New Comment:
A double sonnet rich in imagery! And I learned a couple new words (parian and maugre) - always a plus!
Posted 01/10/2015 01:56 PM
Janet Leahy:
We have seen "the north wind's masonry" in Wisconsin this week, beautiful images in this poem.
Posted 01/10/2015 07:39 AM
I've been to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery too! It was mysterious, a spiritual experience..
Posted 01/09/2015 11:52 PM

Contents of this web site and all original text and images therein are copyright © by Your Daily Poem. All rights reserved.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Purchasing books through any poet's Amazon links helps to support Your Daily Poem.
The material on this site may not be copied, reproduced, downloaded, distributed, transmitted, stored, altered, adapted,
or otherwise used in any way without the express written permission of the owner.