Friday, November 3, 2023

Celebrate a Nature First

First Snow of Winter 2023/2024, Holland, NY
Photo by Mark LV

Students - We had our first snow of the winter this week...and it was such a magical surprise. Even when we know the snow is coming to Western New York, we are still charmed and surprised by the fresh, frolicking flakes. And as always, I found myself amazed and struggling to believe that each flake is unique. But indeed they are...just like each of us!

Today I share a very short poem celebrating a nature first: first snow. Can you think of some nature firsts, either in your life or in the life of any natural creature or plant or weather or sky object?
  • the first time you saw a certain bird
  • the first time you saw a certain (not birdy) animal
  • The first time you learned about or recognized a plant or flower or tree
  • the first time you had a particular nature adventure
  • a first feeling in nature
  • a first type of weather in a long time
  • the first time an animal did something  
Firsts are worth celebrating, even little firsts, maybe especially little firsts. We are accustomed to celebrating big games and birthdays, but so many of our days are filled with small, magical firsts. Earlier this fall, I was happy to pick up my first red maple leaf of this year, pressing it into my notebook and remembering all of the others I have collected over the years. Remember that you need not write poetry in your own voice. If I were to write about picking up the first red maple leaf, I could write as me...or the leaf...or the tree...or something else. That's where some of the fun is.

Regarding line 5 of this poem, did you figure out that the love notes are snowflakes? Poets try to use language in surprising ways, and while I have heard of snow being compared to lace, I have not yet heard of it being compared to small love notes before. They do feel like beautiful love notes to me.

If you write a first poem, I would love to read it.

In other writing news, I am happy to share that my musician and English professor friend Gart Westerhout has turned another one of my poems into a delightful song with him singing and playing piano. If you would like to hear it, it is part of the post of "Doors," a poem from two weeks ago. So now, that post includes a poem inspired by art that inspired a song. We all do need each other in this world.

For part of this week and next, I am fortunate enough to be writing with the primary poets of Alden Primary School in Alden, NY. Thank you teachers, students, and administrators - I am still thinking about some of the poems I read today.

Buffy is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Buffy Silverman with a beautiful poem about a maple leaf's dance recital and a first snow celebration of her latest book, ON A FLAKE FLYING DAY: WATCHING WINTER'S WONDERS. Each Friday, all are invited to share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship in this open and welcoming poetry community.

Watch for nature firsts this week remembering that you look for is what you will find... If you write a nature first poem, I would love to read it.



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  1. I love this short poem, full of wonder and wordplay! Thank you, Amy!

  2. Lace and love notes! Lovely, Amy. And Mark's photo is magical! xo

  3. Oh, those small winter love notes! Beautiful, Amy!

  4. Without any warning indeed! I feel like the cold snuck up on me this year. Love this poem and your prompt Amy. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  5. I love "small winter love notes"--such a positive perspective! I am more likely to be annoyed than "charmed and surprised," but now I will try to appreciate them more.

  6. Amy, your posts are love notes to children through poetry. Thank you for sharing them!

  7. To think of snow flakes as small love notes--that takes the sting out of winter!

  8. Oh, this is wonderful, Amy! I love it. And the unusual rhyme scheme!

  9. I saw your pic earlier in the week, love it, Amy, & when the next snow comes, I will think of those "love notes"!

  10. Amy, I love Western NY winters. Your poem and Mark’s picture capture the mood of the first snow perfectly.

  11. "Small winter love notes" ... swoon!

  12. Love notes! Lovely way to think of snow.

  13. Amy, the "Doors poem is wonderful and how exciting to have it turned into a song. I love them both. Your first poem with the magical words, "snow feels like lace" is such a wonderful line. I have experienced the first snow when growing up in Syracuse. I remember the snowy season from November to Easter. Thanks for reminding me of Central NY's winter love notes.