Help me find a poem about winter that might be Theodore Roethke?
June 8, 2010 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a poem about winter that I believe was Theodore Roethke but was in the New Yorker within the last ten years.

I cut a poem out of the New Yorker about six or seven years ago and put it up on the fridge; it is, of course, long gone. I was fairly sure it was Theodore Roethke but a search of the New Yorker archives doesn't turn anything up - I read this article; it's not in there. I scanned through the poems from the fifties & sixties they had as well; it's not in there. Maybe it was an homage to Roethke?

The poem was short, maybe 10 or 12 lines and it was about winter and a wolf, or maybe winter was compared to a wolf, but there's definitely a wolf and winter in there. Possibly snow, too. That's all I can figure out and googling is not finding it. Help?
posted by mygothlaundry to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is it this one by Raymond Souster?

The wild wolves of winter
swept through the streets last night. Hate glared
in their eyes like unexploded neon
the wind of their howling a thousand blood-curling moans
the teeth of their hunger endless fields of aching snow.

The wild wolves of winter
welcome nowhere, scratched at doors and windows,
ripped at roofs, tore at chimneys, kept us wide awake,
nervous in our warm, sleep-calling beds.

Then as suddenly
were gone, all was quiet. We turned a last time
in our beds and slept.

posted by Madamina at 12:47 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

No, I don't think that's it - I think it was quieter and without stanzas - but that poem is fully awesome, so thanks!
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:51 PM on June 8, 2010

Slightly too long, slightly too old, but maybe this? Peire Vidal by W. S. Merwin
I saw the wolf in winter watching on the raw hill
I stood all night on top of the black tower and sang
I saw my mouth in spring float away on the river
I was a child in rooms where the furs were climbing
and each was alone and they had no eyes no faces
nothing inside them moved but the stories
they never breathed as they waved in their dreams of grass
and I sang the best songs that were sung in the world
as long as a song lasts they came by themselves to me
and I loved blades and boasting and shouting as I rode
as though I was the bright light flashing from everything
I loved being with women and their breath and their skin
and the thought of them that carried me like a wind
I uttered terrible things about other men
in a time when tongues were cut out to pay for kissing
but I set my sails for the island of Venus
and a niece of the Emperor in Constantinople
and I could have become the Emperor myself
I won and I won and all the women in the world
were in love with me and they wanted what I wanted
so I thought and every one of them deceived me
I was the greatest fool in the world I was the world's fool
I have been forgiven and I've come home as I dreamed
and seen them all dancing and singing as the ship came in
and I have watched friends die and have worn black and cut off
the tails and ears of all my horses in mourning
and have shaven my head and the heads of my followers
I have been a poor man living in a rich man's house
and I have gone to the mountains and for one woman
I have worn the fur of a wolf and the shepherds'
   dogs have run me to earth and I have been left for dead
and have come back hearing them laughing and the furs
were hanging in the same places and I have seen
what is not there I have sung its song I have breathed
its day and it was nothing to you where you were you

posted by artlung at 1:02 PM on June 8, 2010

Could it have been Ted Hughes' very nice little poem "The Iron Wolf"?

The Iron Wolf, the Iron Wolf
Stands on the world with jagged fur.
The rusty Moon rolls through the sky.
The iron river cannot stir.
The iron wind leaks out a cry

Caught in the barbed and iron wood.
The Iron Wolf runs over the snow
Looking for a speck of blood.
Only the Iron Wolf shall know

The iron of his fate.
He lifts his nose and moans,
Licks the world as clean as a plate
And leaves his own bones.

posted by jamjam at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2010

Damn, I found it. Remembered in the middle of the night that it was Franz Wright and where the hell I got the Roethke thing from, I have no idea. So, um, sorry for the misleading clues and thanks for the help and also, the very wonderful poems with wolves and winter. Anyway, here it is:

Year One

I was still standing
on a northern corner--

Moonlit winter clouds the color of the desperation of wolves.

of your existence? There is nothing
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:24 PM on June 9, 2010

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