More Snow Promised

December 11, 2013

Many of us keep journals, but while doing so few of us pay much attention to selecting the most precise words, to determining their most effective order, to working with effective pauses and breath-like pacing, to presenting an engaging impression of a single, unique day. This poem by Nebraskan Nancy McCleery is a good example of one poet’s carefully recorded observations. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

December Notes

The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks

The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,

Filigree threads of chickadee.
And wing patterns where one flew

Low, then up and away, gone
To the woods but calling out

Clearly its bright epigrams.
More snow promised for tonight.

The postal van is stalled
In the road again, the mail

Will be late and any good news
Will reach us by hand.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reprinted from Girl Talk, The Backwaters Press, 2002, by permission of the author. Copyright © 1994 by Nancy McCleery. Introduction copyright © 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

You Might Also Like


  1. Thank you. Lovely, engaging details of simple wonders, observed & expressed with such care...( might I add, talent?)

  2. I really like this poem. Thanks for posting.
    (It sounds like my yard right now! More snow is on the way tonight.)

  3. Rita--I thought it was a really lovely poem, and it made me feel more fall/winterish when it's 85 degrees outside my house!

  4. Kelly--I loved this poem--it almost made me with is snowed here. Are you freezing up there?! I'll gladly share some of our warm weather.