The snow has been falling thicker and faster since yesterday; the windows of my room are completely white. It looks like it is going to lie for a while, so I can see another Christmas like last year on the cards at home at least. So here are my favourite winter poem and favourite winter song to mark this change in the weather:
Winter: My Secret by Christina Rossetti
I tell my secret? No indeed, not I:
Perhaps some day, who knows?
But not today; it froze, and blows and snows,
And you’re too curious: fie!
You want to hear it? well:
Only, my secret’s mine, and I won’t tell.
Or, after all, perhaps there’s none:
Suppose there is no secret after all,
But only just my fun.
Today’s a nipping day, a biting day;
In which one wants a shawl,
A veil, a cloak, and other wraps:
I cannot ope to everyone who taps,
And let the draughts come whistling thro’ my hall;
Come bounding and surrounding me,
Come buffeting, astounding me,
Nipping and clipping thro’ my wraps and all.
I wear my mask for warmth: who ever shows
His nose to Russian snows
To be pecked at by every wind that blows?
You would not peck? I thank you for good will,
Believe, but leave the truth untested still.
Spring’s an expansive time: yet I don’t trust
March with its peck of dust,
Nor April with its rainbow-crowned brief showers,
Nor even May, whose flowers
One frost may wither thro’ the sunless hours.
Perhaps some languid summer day,
When drowsy birds sing less and less,
And golden fruit is ripening to excess,
If there’s not too much sun nor too much cloud,
And the warm wind is neither still nor loud,
Perhaps my secret I may say,
Or you may guess.
(Taken from The Reader Online blog)
Winter by Tori Amos
The offical video is available here
WINTER snow can wait I forgot my mittens wipe my nose
get my new boots on I get a little warm in my heart when
I think of winter I put my hand in my father’s glove I run
off where the DRIFTS GET DEEPER sleeping beauty trips
me with a frown I hear a voice”you must learn to stand
up for yourself cause I can’t alyways be around” he says
when you gonna make up your mind when you gonna love
you as much as I do when you gonna make up your mind
cause things are gonna CHANGE so fast all the white
horses are still in bed I tell you that I’ll always want you
near you say that things change my dear boys get discovered
as winter MELTS flowers competing for the sun years go by
and I’m here still waiting withering where some snowman
was mirror mirror where’s the crystal palace but I only can
see myself SKATING around the truth who I am but I
know dad the ice is getting thin hair is grey and the fires
are burning so many dreams on the shelf you say I wanted
you to be PROUD of me I always wanted that myself he
says when you gonna make up your mind when you gonna
love you as much as I do When you gonna make up your
mind cause things are gonna change so fast all the WHITE
HORSES have gone ahead I tell you that I’ll always want
you near you say that things change my dear.
(Lyrics taken from the official Tori Amos website)
Libraries to me have always been places of sanctuary, somewhere to feel safe from the world and all its dangers, and although I am not using any libraries at present, that feeling is always stronger in winter. I think it is the idea of sitting reading a favourite book by the fireside, hot cocoa or spiced wine on the table to one side, while the snow falls down outside, that appeals. So this is perhaps more about private libraries than public ones – consider Alberto Manguel’s talking about his library, an old French barn converted to his design, as he talks about the lights on inside and the dark falling outside, in The Library at Night (unfortunately I don’t have my copy here, so cannot give the page reference). Having said that, any library, probably any building, becomes cosier when night falls and the lights go on. The London Library, which does have comfortable seats at the fireside and small, intimate reading rooms, would be perfect right now were it snowing in London. I could imagine sitting with a pile of rich prose and looking out into a snow-covered St. James’ Square, feeling like nobody and nothing could ever hurt me again.
So tell me, dear readers, what would be your favourite library in which to shelter on a snowy night?