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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Snow” by Caitríona O’Reilly

snowPhoto courtesy of Christina Berry

The Winter Solstice is upon us as of this week. As temperatures drop, snow will fall and blanket the ground with its hushed whiteness. Every snap of a twig, crunch of ice, and rush in the trees is amplified in the silence of snow. In today’s poem “Snow,” Caitríona O’Reilly’s captures the profound silence of a wintery day.


What is it to talk about silence?
When I look up from my table

it will still be there
where it fell in the night,

hurrying to congregate
in the cone cast by the street lamp,

and in the darkness, the others,
unseen but legion.

How bruise-blue the shadows
on the garden

and the frozen cobwebs
snapped beneath their weight.

In the park we blundered
across it, the quiet,

in spite of its exclamatory outline
on bare trees,

down great hushed halls of white
and the white lake picked out in kanji

by the moorhen’s feet.
Are there words for what I felt

in the faceted garden?
Motes, corpuscles, animalcules.

And it is a relief to feel it touch me
with its meaning,

its vast multitudinous silence,
again and again.

– Caitríona O’Reilly, Geis (2015)

Categories: Caitriona O'Reilly, Poem of the WeekTags: , , ,

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