The Reality of Snow

For Kerry’s Art Flash/55: A graphite sketch called “Autumn Breath” by Jason Limberg, Michigan USA.  A 55 for the prompt. For Sunday’s Poetry Pantry.

The Reality of Snow
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently?” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

We are the last of our line.
I fear my brother the next full moon –
the snow will be falling –
like stars in the woods
filling the darkness.
nibbled bits of branches in our stomachs
as we slowly starve.
we lie back-to back for warmth –
snow, unceasing snow.
until it covers us
and we sleep

“Autumn Breath”
Jason Limberg
Used With Permission

34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. oldegg
    Nov 01, 2019 @ 21:50:50

    Yes I too wondered how spindly legged creatures such as these could endure a cold winter but clearly they can, but they do eat anything that grows even if it is frozen.


  2. kim881
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 03:17:28

    A great quote, Toni, and a poignant poem, a reminder of the two faces of winter – the enchanting beauty of snow ‘like stars in the woods / filling the darkness’ and its ability to kill. The line ‘nibbled bits of branches in our stomachs’ is powerful.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 02, 2019 @ 08:57:09

      Years ago my uncle, who lived in Colorado, would go elk hunting. He only did it to feed his family. They were very poor at the time. He would come across an elk who was on the verge of starvation and sick. For mercy he would shoot it and leave it for the other starving animals. Winter in the high elevations was very cruel.

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  3. Kerry
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 05:36:27

    I love the title of your piece, Toni.. and the description of the snow like stars in the woods. I often wonder how the animals endure the harsh conditions of winter.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 02, 2019 @ 09:10:49

      Often times they do not. The larger animals, such as elk iften starve. One reason bears hibernate for the winter. My aunt’s first husband, who lived in Denver, often tells of elk hunting in the winter. He would come across an elk who was starved and sick. He would shoot it, for mercy and leave it for the other animals to forage off of. The mountain lions and wolves, even the squirrels eating the keratin from its horns. He tells of finding a skeletal elk, its belly full of branches it had eaten because it was starving. His father told him to put it out of its misery. The animals in lower elevations do o.k. the animals in the high elevations, well…this is the reality of snow.

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  4. jaerose37
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 06:12:46

    I love the other worldly feel to this – and lying back to back for warmth


  5. Helen
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 13:57:57

    We had one of the worst winters last year, ever. Many deer were lost, starving to death. So sad. However your poem is a thing of beauty.


  6. Vivian Zems
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 14:56:09

    A poignant poem. I sense the impending doom…..and you have me wishing for a miracle.


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 16:44:29

    Oh how cruel nature can be… reindeer live in forests during winter and the usually can reach through the snow to reach the lichen they feed on… but if the snow has developed a crust they will starve… In Sweden where reindeer are kept their owners will feed them….. but they live a harsh life.


  8. Linda Lee Lyberg
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 16:57:15

    Wow, stark and poignant poem Toni.


  9. Just Barry
    Nov 02, 2019 @ 20:10:21

    There’s a foreboding noble grace in face of the inevitable displayed here. Beautifully crafted.


  10. Magaly Guerrero
    Nov 03, 2019 @ 11:39:53

    Devastating, made even more so by the clarity of the knowledge, and by the fact that the voice gives no hint of the possibility of a different outcome. That kind of despair squeezes at the soul.


  11. Sherry Marr
    Nov 03, 2019 @ 11:52:18

    We already have brown bears starving here and it isnt even winter yet. The artist is very talented. I love your poem, and can feel the two, huddled together for warmth. Thankful they have each other.


  12. sanaarizvi
    Nov 03, 2019 @ 12:52:42

    Wow! This poem packs quite a punch, Toni! Powerful writing ❤️


  13. Kestril Trueseeker
    Nov 03, 2019 @ 14:17:35

    This is a really brilliant piece. There’s a delicateness in the way the brutal truth is revealed. I don’t know how else to describe it. The truth is there, unvarnished and unsentimental. But there’s something tender in the delivery I can’t quite put my finger on that makes the tragedy of it that much more profound. Hella good stuff.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 03, 2019 @ 19:12:23

      Thank you for your extremely kind comment. This picture resonated to me, reminding me of the elk in the high altitudes and how some winters, they starve to death, the lichen being buried under the snow. They have to subsist on the smaller branches of trees. It is heartbreaking.


  14. divalounger
    Nov 03, 2019 @ 17:22:36

    Loved this–I watch the squirrels in the back as they forage for food during the fall and early winter–sometimes, they survive and sometimes not–but I leave them bits of things over the winter–just a wonderful write!


  15. susanstoo
    Nov 03, 2019 @ 19:56:10

    You actually make the snow seem like a relief, the sleep under its blanket, at least. Starving to death must be the worst way to die. Ouch.


  16. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Nov 03, 2019 @ 21:45:42

    Oh, how heart-rending. ‘Chilling’ in every sense. Beautifully expressed, Toni, and I’m sad that it needs expression. Then again, if the poets don’t point these things out, who will?


  17. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Nov 04, 2019 @ 00:06:16

    Yes, for many animals going through a rough winter there is a starving time… but with that said, so many more feed off the same amount of land as there are less predators…


  18. Susie Clevenger
    Nov 04, 2019 @ 13:11:24

    Yes, snow can have such a dark reality. I agree you make the snow sound like relief, escape from the growling stomach of starvation.


  19. magicalmysticalteacher
    Nov 06, 2019 @ 07:05:06

    To be the last of the line can be a dreadful thing or a wonder-filled thing, depending on one’s perspective. The otherworldly quality of your poem is awe-inspiring.


  20. Fireblossom
    Nov 08, 2019 @ 16:19:57

    A really beautifully worded poem about a grim reality.


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