(by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882)
Out of the bosom of the air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression;
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.
Discussion points / questions / activities
- Have students write a poem in which, like Longfellow in the first stanza of "Snow-flakes," they describe something in detail without saying what it is. Then, in the last line, they reveal what that thing is. This can also be a grammar activity: Use a string of prepositional phrases, or modifiers of any sort, to describe something vividly, without naming it.
- Relate the illustration from Indian Summer to the poem that it accompanies ("Snow-flakes")