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Poetry Friday: "Storm Windows"

This morning's rain, thunder, and lightning sent me scurrying to the Poetry Foundation for "Storm Windows," by Howard Nemerov (1920-1991).

People are putting up storm windows now,
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon,
I saw storm windows lying on the ground,
Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass...

Read the entire poem here.

Given today's all-weather windows, storm windows are becoming a thing of the past. And, boy, are they a pain in the neck. I'd never heard of storm windows until I moved up east. (They block the cold and protect your regular windows from ice and snow.) You have to install them in the fall and remove them in the spring. I love it that Howard Nemerov could make something poetic about those seasonal rituals, transforming the ordinary.

For more verses and such, see the Poetry Friday roundup at The Book Mine Set.


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We did this for years. What a difference it made when we finally got "new" windows. Storm windows always preceded snow tires. It's amazing how times have changed!

After the 40 mph winds on Wednesday night, I would have liked some storm windows, if only to shut out the howling of the wind all night.

It's true, isn't it. Storm windows and snow tires... seasonal rituals fading from the American landscape. Hm.

"transforming the ordinary" . . . indeed. into extraordinary. really, i'm going to have to read that a few more times later (esp. when "Sesame Street" isn't playing behind me, as I do my quick Poetry Friday rounds right now).

that is really beautiful and sad ... thanks for sharing it.

At the first house I lived in out of college, we used to squabble about installing them, Tricia. Can you believe how easy we have it now!

Tad Mack, I probably have a few old ones in the attic. I'll email them to Scotland. :)

You're welcome, Jules. I see exactly what Nemerov means when he describes the grass, don't you?

I'm glad y'all liked this one. Howard Nemerov was photographer Diane Arbus's brother. Interesting, eh?

Great poem, but what's up with thunder and lightning in January??? (We had it, too.) Did seasons really stay in their places in the past, or do we just not remember the wild wierdnesses? Will there come a day when the seasons lose their meaning? I sure hope not.

I know! The thunder and lightning were really strange, Mary Lee. Yesterday I didn't even need a coat--and it's January in New England. Southern New England, but still. I want snow and frozen-over ponds, not this weird springlike stuff.

I still have to go around and lower the storm windows, raising the shades. I'm glad I don't have to "install" them every change of season though. I also have to put plastic up over the windows to keep out the drafts. I really need new windows! This is a lovely poem - the sadness of wintery rain is perfectly caught. Thunderstorms in January has got to be one of the weirdest, most uncomfortable kinds of weather there is in the northeast.

You always find the most amazing poetry, Susan. I'm still thinking about Mercy on Broadway, all these months later. And I'm sure I'll be returning to this one, too.

Glad to hear y'all liked this one.

Cloudscome, that's the kind of storm windows we used to have here in this house. Boy, without them, it was so drafty!

Thanks, Sara. I love Mark Doty's work. I got to hear him once and can still hear his voice reading Mercy on Broadway.

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