Mad as the Mist and Snow

Mad as the Mist  and Snow


I remember the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011 and the wild and terrifying beauty of the thundersnow. It was  just amazing–a powerful force of nature.

I was reminded of this poem by William Butler Yeats.  It’s been years  since I read it.  I read the poem again, and I was struck by its immediacy.  It blew me away.   Yeats  was 63 when he wrote it, and it is a work of genius. It  begins as  a refuge against the elements outside– the world that does not make sense.  Here is the comfort of company and conversation, of  books and  learning,  memories of years ago.   Is there a longing for the crazy days?  Maybe so.

But it’s not a reading lesson, or the consolations  of  poetry.   I think of it now as an affirmation of life—all the disappointments, pain,  and loss.  There is no going back, no  regret or nostalgia.  It is  wild  as the weather,  alive,  mad as the poets in the mist and  snow.

Here is a version by the superb band, the Waterboys. Enjoy!


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  • Somehow I missed this beautiful poem. Thanks, WG, for sharing it. I see another sense to it. That we forget that those great writers and thinkers of the past are not merely words on a page but were living breathing human beings who had the same experiences---the mist and the snow---we have today. And not only the same exposure to the elements of the natural world, but the same emotions, ideas, issues, and uncertainties.

  • Thank you for reading, AW. I am so glad I could share this poem with you. Yes, Plato and Cicero and Homer are not just names or words on a page. They lived, with all their uncertainties and politics and weather. They were real people. And Yeats, too--a great poet, facing mortality. You said it beautifully, thank you.

  • A lovely reflection on a lovely poem.

  • Thanks, Kerri. Much appreciated.

  • Thank you for your beautiful musings. Well done. I will look at the mist and snow with new eyes.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

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