I subscribe to Poem-a-Day, an email service from the Academy of American Poets that provides a very wide selection of contemporary and classic poems. This one by D.H. Lawrence caught my attention because it captures a sense of foreboding that the silence of snow can convey.
Based on when the poem was published, I interpreted the setting as a World War I battlefield. I found a digitized copy of Bay, the collection in which “Winter-Lull appears, which would appear to confirm this interpretation. In the collection, “Winter-Lull” is preceded by “On the March” and “Bombardment,” and followed by “The Attack.”
The flyleaf of the digitized copy of Bay I found on Internet Archive is signed by Lawrence and Anne Estelle Rice, the illustrator. The book was a limited edition, so all of the copies may have been signed. Nevertheless, I was quite excited to see the signatures, almost as if they had been signed for me!
“A Calm Disbelief”
The following excerpt is from my unpublished short story, “A Calm Disbelief.” The scene is based on an experience I had with my father in the aftermath of a bad snowstorm.
She felt an automatic nudge of fear in her stomach. She had once witnessed a horrific car accident in the winter. She and John had been driving to Coos County the day after a storm to visit friends. The morning was clear, the road and the dark woods beyond it sharply-defined. About a quarter of a mile up the road, a snowplow had just come into a curve, sending up a continuous plume of snow. For a brief moment, the curve hid the snowplow and as she watched the plume of snow arc evenly into the air, two cars emerged from it and began to skid; she watched as they slid into each other, spun, and stopped, the snowplow behind them. The accident was beautiful, the gentle curve of the road, the white plume of snow, the two cars slowly, gracefully sliding into each other. And all of it without sound; that had been the most beautiful and horrific of all. When John stopped and they ran across the road to the accident, she was relieved to see an old man stumble out of one of the smashed cars, sobbing, his face running blood and dirt and melting snow.
The View from My Front Door: January 2020