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White Fields
James Stephens


In the winter time we go
Walking in the fields of snow,

Where there is no grass at all,
Where the top of every wall,

Every fence, and every tree,
Is as white as white can be.

Pointing out the way we came,
—Every one of them the same—

All across the fields there be
Prints in silver filigree;

And our mothers always know
By the footprints in the snow,
Where it is the children go.

This poem is in the public domain.

James Stephens (1880 – 1950) wrote plays (acted in a few, as well), short stories, novels, and poetry. Born in the slums of Dublin, Ireland, at the age of six, he was committed to a reform school for begging on the streets. He remained there for 10 years. A tiny man (4’10”), he was a gifted gymnast, worked as an office clerk at various times and, ultimately, became a BBC broadcaster. A friend of writer James Joyce, Stephens lived in Dublin, Paris, and London during the course of his life.


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Simple, intriguing poem. I read it several times to enjoy its simplicity. I liked how the word filigree became the center point of the poem for me. Interesting and great word choice. Deliciously delicate in contrast to shoe impressions. Randy Mazie
Posted 12/14/2023 04:30 PM
This poem seems timeless to me, though today there is an industry built around snow removal; the fields of snow are increasingly rare, at least in my location.
Posted 12/14/2023 10:58 AM
Yes, forrsher2, a small, crafty man.
Posted 12/14/2023 10:50 AM
Tom Sharpe:
So simply said. It is so fun to see what went where in a foot of fresh snow. And where the snow angels sat a spell.
Posted 12/14/2023 10:29 AM
I found his bio to be as interesting as his poem, in a different way.
Posted 12/14/2023 08:54 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I love how he has painted a beautiful picture with a few eloquent rhymes.
Posted 12/14/2023 08:52 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Often, in Colorado, the morning after a big snow storm, the sun shines brightly in a clear blue sky, and the world is covered in a wrinkle-free blanket of brilliant, white snow. A kid can't resist wanting to go plowing through it, making patterns at will. It's a magical time in a magical world.
Posted 12/14/2023 08:48 AM
Gilbert Allen:
I enjoyed the quiet elegance of this poem.
Posted 12/14/2023 08:41 AM
Larry Schug:
I use my footprints in the snow to find my way home after a slog in the bog. A person could get lost out there.
Posted 12/14/2023 08:04 AM
Joan Luther:
Thankfully, no snow in SC yet but what a wonderful way to celebrate snow in this poem.
Posted 12/14/2023 06:43 AM

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