Poetry Friday: Blue Jays in the Snow


I’ve been participating in Laura Shovan‘s Found Object Poetry Project this month, and in addition to drafting a poem every day, I’ve been reading Ted Kooser‘s The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (University of Nebraska Press: 2005). Kooser, who served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, offers exactly that in his plain-spoken, straightforward style. In addition to lots of good advice, he includes plenty of poetry as examples of how “poems freshen the world,” including this beauty from A.R. Ammons.

“Winter Scene”
by A.R. Ammons

There is now not a single
leaf on the cherry tree.

except when the jay
plummets in, lights, and,

in pure clarity, squalls,
then every branch

quivers and
breaks out in blue leaves.

A blue jay in our apple tree last winter.

I don’t remember where I first read Siv Cedering’s lovely “When it is Snowing,” but it immediately came to mind after reading “Winter Scene.”

“When it is Snowing”
by Siv Cedering

When it is snowing
the blue jay
is the only piece of
in my

Please be sure to visit Donna Smith at Mainely Write for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Blue Jays in the Snow

  1. Thank you for sharing both poems. I could see why the first reminded you of the second. Interestingly for me, the second poem drew me in more effortlessly. Although I loved all sixteen of its words, the second eight were particularly powerful: “the only piece of sky in my backyard.” Thank you! God bless you!


  2. I have seen the blue jay in the bare trees. Now I have two poems for that image. I also have Ted Kooser’s book. I haven’t taken it out in a while. Of all the books I have on writing poetry, I found his to be the most accessible and practical.


  3. Catherine, the simple beauty of these two poems evoke such a gentle spirit of winter. Thank you for sharing those these. I got to have a moment of quiet and peace through the reading of these poems. May I use your photo of the blue jay in the apple tree compliments to you for the Photo Corner of Winter Wanderings?


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