I would’ve written a poem about the snowstorm outside right now – and I’m about to venture right into that snowstorm, so maybe that will change – but there are too many poems about snowstorms. I don’t feel like anything that I write would be saying anything new.
Come to think of it, yesterday while my English 1 class was broken off in groups, I caught my professor looking out the window. It wasn’t snowing, nor was it particularly cold; about 15 degrees and overcast. Typical Madison weather. Then he turned to the class, interrupting our group discussions, and said, “is anyone in here a poet?”
He was pointing to the reflection of a furnace chimney against a plate-glass window across the street. Our classroom is on the sixth floor, so we have good sightlines of things like that.
Indeed, I wanted to write something about that, and I still will, but I’m not ready to share it just yet.
Poems about snow and rain rarely do anything for me. I think it’s because they’re surprising enough when they happen, but they sure as hell are too common and noticeable to really mean anything. I mean, come on, everyone notices when it rains, right?
That’s why a smokestack reflected in a window is so poetic. It’s more omnipresent than the weather, yet nobody notices. That’s the type of poetry that does the most for me – the type that observes the painfully normal and unobserved.