January 30th, 2006

Acquainted with the White

The inspiration for this poem of mine: the snow, Robert Frost’s timeless “Acquainted with the Night,”and Gerard van Der Leun’s timely “Acquainted with the Blight.”

Just to make sure I receive full appreciation for the arduous work involved in writing it, I refer you to this. It explains terza rima, the convoluted rhyme scheme involved:

Terza rima is a three-line stanza using chain rhyme in the pattern a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d. There is no limit to the number of lines, but poems or sections of poems written in terza rima end with either a single line or couplet repeating the rhyme of the middle line of the final tercet…There is no set rhythm for terza rima, but in English, iambic pentameters are generally preferred.

So, without further ado, I bring you:


I have been one acquainted with the white.
I have walked out in snow–and back in snow.
I have watched drifts climb to impressive height.

I have felt blizzard winds that rage and blow.
I have shuffled my muklukked, booted feet
And sniffled wanly, crying, “Woe, oh woe!”

I’ve slipped on ice and skidded down the street
And heard those dying voices with my fall*
Then gone inside to fix myself a treat.

“Snow is design of whiteness to appall,”**
My favorite poet would say, with keen insight.
(Just note his name; he’s called “Frost,” after all.)

I’ve heard friends call me wrong, and far, far Right.
I have been one acquainted with the white.

*go here and scroll down to line 52

**go here and scroll down to the next to last line

14 Responses to “Acquainted with the White”

  1. camojack Says:

    Tales of Brave Ulysses? Cool. I was swimming with turtles a few weeks ago.

    No, really! At least twice…

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    What if Frost was born with a name like Brimestone? How might that have affected his poetry…

  3. DirtCrashr Says:

    I agree about the snow on Mauna Kea – while tiny purple fishes ran laughing through my fingers, swimming with turtles I forgot all about the hard land of the winter. ;-)

  4. Goesh Says:

    In anticipation and preparation for the White….

    Haiku For Autumn

    An old alley cat
    sharpened his claws on a tree
    then pissed on brown leaves

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Knowing Neo

    I used to think her name was prob’ly Cleo
    Her name would rhyme to show a poet’s class
    And so it just makes sense that she’d choose Neo.

    But Sunday morn when I walked out of Mass
    I search the sky and then began to think.
    A rhyme like that was surely much too crass.

    She has the kind of guts to face the brink
    She pulls no punches, says what’s on her mind
    The name she chose was just to make us think.

    If nothing else we know she’s truly kind
    She doesn’t write like one who’d drop a bomb
    Her virtue is she has an active mind.

    She writes for us with knowledge and aplomb
    I think she may be just a loving Mom.


  6. Harry Mallory Says:

    Some people say I shovel it out pretty good.

    I dont think they were talking about the snow though.

  7. Sissy Willis Says:

    The white is a difficult thing to change?

    Beautifully done. I’m shivering with pleasure. Thank you for inviting us inside and fixing us a treat.

  8. camojack Says:

    I prefer the snow on Mauna Kea; nice to look at, and I don’t have to shovel it…

  9. ExPreacherMan Says:

    Neo, your poem is beautiful and much more articulate than mine… but my poem is warmer, is warmer, is warmer.. Hat tip to Gertrude Stein.
    Y’all take the snow, cold winds that blow,
    we’ll fish our lake till sundown red.
    We’ll watch the Ocean eb and flow,
    and slap a ‘skeeter on our head.

    Are skeeters better than frozen ears,
    or tiny broken, crystal tears?
    We’ll take the year-round cozy days,
    and pray you out of that icy maze…

    ExPreacherMan in South Florida.

  10. Jamie Irons Says:


    You have pinpointed exactly why, thirty-six years ago, I decided not to go to Dartmouth (Medical School), and instead headed for California, and have never regretted the decision!

    A lovely poem.

    Nel mezzo del camin di nostra vita
    mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
    ché la diritta via era smarrita.

    Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
    esta selva selvaggia ed aspra e forte
    che nel pensier rinova la paura!…

    Jamie Irons

  11. Nikolaides Says:

    This made me smile, Neo — thanks!

  12. Goesh Says:

    -rather nifty

  13. Van Says:

    A very nice poem. I’m certain that the words have a deeper meaning, but for now I just want to remember the snow, the harsh cold of winter, and the reward of warmth.

    I love my home in Florida, but my heart is still in the Mid Hudson Valley region on New York.

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