Blizzard, by Barbara Juster Esbensen

Happy Poetry Friday! Usually, when I recommend poetry books–whether it’s to educators, kids, or aspiring poets–I recommend focusing on very current books. But Barbara Juster Esbensen is one of my favorites, and her poems always feel like they could have been written just this morning.

In honor of the northeastern United States, which has gotten dumped on this winter, here’s a poem called “Blizzard.” This also reminds me of the time I got stuck in a blizzard trying to drive home from a school visit a few hours away. A truly terrifying experience. However, we’ve had very little snow in Minnesota this winter, and I wish we could get some more. Just not when I’m traveling to visit schools. :>) Stay warm and safe, everyone!

Blizzard

On the highway
herded by the wind
cars plow home.

There is no room
for sky or air
the space is filled
with white wings
that beat in thickest
rhythm
soundless and falling.

All night
I will dream of moths
and white birds.

–Barbara Juster Esbensen, all rights reserved

Don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup at the thoughtful and lovely Heidi Mordhorst’s My Juicy Little Universe.

48 Responses

  1. We had a snow day today, worst snow last evening, but still snowing lightly. It’s a lovely poem, Laura. I love that ‘plow home’-just how it feels.

  2. We had a snow day today, worst snow last evening, but still snowing lightly. It’s a lovely poem, Laura. I love that ‘plow home’-just how it feels.

  3. I had a terrifying experience on the road in the snow last Saturday, so I can totally relate. I especially like “the space is filled/with white wings/that beat in thickest/rhythm/soundless and falling.” So perfect.

    1. Something about the word “thickest” (I have no idea what) makes it feel so cozy and private and overwhelmingly white. Glad you’re safe, Tabatha!

  4. I had a terrifying experience on the road in the snow last Saturday, so I can totally relate. I especially like “the space is filled/with white wings/that beat in thickest/rhythm/soundless and falling.” So perfect.

    1. Something about the word “thickest” (I have no idea what) makes it feel so cozy and private and overwhelmingly white. Glad you’re safe, Tabatha!

  5. This is my favorite kind of snow — in a poem, and not in real life. 🙂 Beautiful, those dreams of white birds… not so beautiful the traffic snarls created by ice on roadways in a southern city not accustomed to dealing with it! Excited for ROCK making it’s debut, Laura! Congratulations!!

  6. This is my favorite kind of snow — in a poem, and not in real life. 🙂 Beautiful, those dreams of white birds… not so beautiful the traffic snarls created by ice on roadways in a southern city not accustomed to dealing with it! Excited for ROCK making it’s debut, Laura! Congratulations!!

  7. Congratulations on A Rock, Laura! My favorite bit of this is
    “There is no room
    for sky or air”–
    just moths and white birds all night. Lovely!

  8. Congratulations on A Rock, Laura! My favorite bit of this is
    “There is no room
    for sky or air”–
    just moths and white birds all night. Lovely!

  9. No snow here, though my kiddos have had plenty in the lower Appalachians. Barbara Juster Ebsensen’s work is just timeless. And this one was particularly timeLY — thanks for sharing.

    HUGE Congrats on A ROCK… you do, of course. Rock.

  10. No snow here, though my kiddos have had plenty in the lower Appalachians. Barbara Juster Ebsensen’s work is just timeless. And this one was particularly timeLY — thanks for sharing.

    HUGE Congrats on A ROCK… you do, of course. Rock.

  11. parts of this poem seam honating like the last line thinking of how much snow some stats got this winter

  12. parts of this poem seam honating like the last line thinking of how much snow some stats got this winter

  13. “Soundless and falling” is exactly right. I actually love the peace snow falling. It’s the wind that I can live without. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem, Laura!

  14. “Soundless and falling” is exactly right. I actually love the peace snow falling. It’s the wind that I can live without. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem, Laura!

  15. This poem captured something of the puzzle that is a blizzard to me — that comforting whiteness:
    white wings
    that beat in thickest
    rhythm
    soundless and falling.

    Just lovely!

    1. Somehow that wild blizzard weather is so insulating. It makes me feel like I’m all alone in the world, but not alone, just happily ensconced in my own dream world. That pry doesn’t make any sense, but–as long as I’m not out driving in it–a great snowstorm or blizzard is indeed really comforting and beautiful!

  16. This poem captured something of the puzzle that is a blizzard to me — that comforting whiteness:
    white wings
    that beat in thickest
    rhythm
    soundless and falling.

    Just lovely!

    1. Somehow that wild blizzard weather is so insulating. It makes me feel like I’m all alone in the world, but not alone, just happily ensconced in my own dream world. That pry doesn’t make any sense, but–as long as I’m not out driving in it–a great snowstorm or blizzard is indeed really comforting and beautiful!

  17. One of my favorite children’s poets, and one that I’m heartsick I’ll never have a chance to meet. This is but one of the many poetic things we have in common, Laura. Thanks for highlighting her!

    1. I’m not sure I would ever have considered writing poetry if I hadn’t heard her speak. Such a lovely poet!

  18. One of my favorite children’s poets, and one that I’m heartsick I’ll never have a chance to meet. This is but one of the many poetic things we have in common, Laura. Thanks for highlighting her!

    1. I’m not sure I would ever have considered writing poetry if I hadn’t heard her speak. Such a lovely poet!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,516 other subscribers

Are You Looking For?

Poetry Friday posts

Classroom Connections posts

All my poetryactions

Go to my Poetry page for:

  • National Poetry Month projects through the years
  • Small Reads Roundups (poems grouped by topic)
  • Introductions to several favorite poetry forms
Tags
#waterpoemproject15 Words or Less Poems20for2030 Painless Classroom Poems50 State Poemsacrosticsactivity pagesactivity sheetALAA Leaf Can Be...Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterA Need to FeedanthologiesanthologyA Rock Can Be...art projectsaudiopoemsawardsbad newsBarbara Juster EsbensenBilly Collinsbiopoemsblog tourbookalikesbook festivalsBookSpeak!book spine poemsbook trailersbop poembyr a thoddaidcafepresscalendar poemsCamp Read-a-LotCan Be... bookscan be... poemsCapstoneCarol Varsalonacascade poemsCatherine FlynnccbcCCRA.W.3CCRA.W.4CCRA.W.5centoschapter bookschoral compositionschristina rossetticinquainsCLAclassified ad poemsclassroom connectionclassroom connectionsClover Kittyconferences and conventionscrown sonnetscybilsdansaDare to DreamDavid Elliottdeeper wisdom poemdefinitosdiamantesdiversitydizaindodoitsuDot DayDouglas Floriandownloadablesdrum corpse.e. cummingsekphrastic poemsepistolary poemsequation poemsessentialethereeseventsexquisite corpseFairy Tale Garage Salefamilyfibonaccifiction picture booksfinding familyfirefightersforeign editionsfound poemsfree author zoomsfree versefrom studentsgeesegeorgia heardghazalGift Taggiveawaygolden shovelgoldilocksgratitudehaikuheart of aheart of a teacherHeidi MordhorstHelen FrostHighlightshow-to poemshow to make a rainbowI Am FromI Am poemsidiomsif you want to knit some mittensIf You Were the MoonILAimagepoemsinterviewin the middle of the nightIRAIrelandIrene LathamJ. Patrick LewisJanet WongJoyce SidmanKendraKerlanKidlit Comboslailaura's board booksLaura's booksLaura's poemsLaura's readingsLaura ShovanLee Bennett HopkinsLilian MoorelimericksLinda Booth SweeneyLine Leads the WayLion of the Skylist poemslittle free librarylive writingLullaby and Kisses Sweetlyricsmadness poetrymargaret simonMarilyn Singermary lee hahnmask poemsMeet My FamilyMelissa StewartMentors for Rentmentor textsmetaphorMichelle Myers LacknerMillbrookMinnesota Book Awardsmoneymoonmy reading lifemy writing processN+7naaninarrative poemsNational Poetry Month 2012 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2014 (riddle-ku)National Poetry Month 2015National Poetry Month 2016National Poetry Month 2017 (#wonderbreak)national poetry month 2018 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2020National Poetry Month 2021 (#EquationPoem)national poetry month 2022 (sticky-note poems)National Poetry Month 2023 (Digging for Poems)National Poetry Month 2024 (magnipoems)ncteNerdy Book Clubnifty newsnifty stuffNikki Grimesnonfictionnonfiction booksNonfiction Writers Dig Deepnovelsnovels in verseodesOne Minute Till BedtimeoppositifyOskar's VoyagepadletpantoumsparodiesPatreonpeacepersonalpet poemsphotopoetryphrase acrosticspicture booksplagiarismpoempicspoemspoems for two voicespoemsketchpoetic pursuitsPoetry 7poetryactionspoetry activitiesPoetry Blastpoetry booksPoetry FridayPoetry Friday AnthologiesPoetry Princessespoetry promptspoetry sistersPoetry Tips for Teachersprogressive poempublishing processpuddle songPutridquotationsraccontinosRandy Salasread-aloudreadaloudreading poetry in the classroomRebecca Kai Dotlichrecipe poemsrefugeesresearchreview copiesreviewsrevisionrhyming booksrhyming nonfictionrhyming picture booksRhyming Picture Books the Write Wayrhyming poemsRiddle-kuriddle poemsRock Can Be...Rock the Blogrondeau redoublesRudyard Kiplingsalas snippetsSCBWIschool visitsScotlandseasonssecrets of the loonSELsestinasshrinking daysskinnyskypeslice of lifesmall readssnack snooze skedaddlesnowman-coldsonnetsStampede!storm poemstorytimestorywalkstudent poemsstudent workSylvia VardellTanita Davistankatautogramteachableteacher resourcesteen/adult poemsterza rimasthankfulthank yous and referencesthe business sidethings to do iftracy nelson maurertrioletstunie munson-bensonvideosVikram MadanvillanellevillanellesWater Can Be...wealthy elementaryWe BelongWhat's InsideWhy-kuwinterwonderwonderbreakword of the yearwordplaywordsmithswork for hirewritingwriting bookswriting processwriting promptswriting the life poeticyoung authors conferencesYouTubeZapZap Clap Boomzenozentangle
Show More Show Less

Discover more from Laura Purdie Salas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Join Laura's monthly newsletter for eductators

Get three of Laura's favorite poetry activities when you subscribe to "Small Reads."