Tag Archives: winter words

What Winter Looks Like In The Minds Of Famous Authors


What does winter look like?

In his YA fantasy novel, The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman gives winter a positive slant.

We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.

Author Mark Helprin uses an image of a speeding train to turn winter wild in his 1983 novel, Winter’s Tale.

44261Snow_train_IIIWinter, then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees. It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run. And what it did to Northern forests can hardly be described, considering that it iced the branches of the sycamores on Chrystie Street and swept them back and forth until they rang like ranks of bells.

Lewis Carroll sees winter personified and gives it a voice.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”— Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

In the days of the Roman Empire, the Greek essayist, Plutarch, imagined what winter’s cold might do to words.

 Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer. —”Moralia”

And what would winter be in Ogden Nash’s brain other than a flurry of rhymes.

 6ee85dc5b32effdabe3f29389f428cdaWinter is the king of showmen,

Turning tree stumps into snowmen

And houses into birthday cakes

And spreading sugar over lakes.

Smooth and clean and frosty white,

The world looks good enough to bite.

That’s the season to be young,

Catching snowflakes on your tongue.

Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,

I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.

—“Winter Morning”

How would you describe winter?

What icy-cold words are swirling around in your head, waiting to be gathered up and written down?


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