‘Snow Blanket’ is a beautiful, winter-themed poem in which the speaker encourages humanity to find joy in the simple things, like a snowfall, and help those around them to the best of their ability. Melone uses relatable images throughout ‘Snow Blanket’ to help the reader place themselves in the scene and hopefully feel what his speaker encourages.
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Summary of Snow Blanket
In the first lines of this poem, the speaker describes a particular snowy morning on which the snowflakes fell heavily and covered everything in a blanket of snow. It was “pure white” and briefly carpeted over the darker sleeping parts of humanity. The speaker encourages the reader, and the rest of humankind, to take pleasure in these moments, flush out and release anger, and instead turn to joy and “youthful mirth.” The poem concludes with the speaker encouraging everyone to live peacefully and happily, using their energy to do good for others.
Structure and Form
‘Snow Blanket’ by Matt Melone is a three-stanza poem that is separated into sets of four lines, known as quatrains. These quatrains follow a rhyme scheme of ABBB DEDE FGFG. While the poem does not follow a specific metrical pattern, the lines are all quite similar in length. The longest is twelve syllables long, and the shortest is eight.
Melone makes use of several literary devices in ‘Snow Blanket.’ These include but are not limited to alliteration, caesura, and enjambment. The first of these, alliteration, is a common literary device that occurs when the poet repeats the same consonant sound at the beginning of multiple words. For example, “dark dormant” in line two of the first stanza and “fear, float” in line two of the second stanza. There are several other examples noted in the analysis as well.
Caesurae are pauses in the middle of the lines. These occur when the poet uses punctuation or meter to suggest that a reader stop for a moment before continuing on. For example, line two of the second stanza reads: “worry and fear, float and ascend.” Line one of the first stanza is also a good example. It reads: “December morning, peaceful snow blanket.”
Enjambment is a common formal device that occurs when the poet cuts off a line before its natural stopping point. For example, the transition between lines one and two of the first stanza as well as lines three and four of that stanza. Readers have to move down to the next line to find out what the poet wants to say next.
Analysis of Snow Blanket
December morning, peaceful snow blanket
pure white, covering dark dormant earth
Moments to consider mankind’s dearth
then overcome with youthful mirth
In the first stanza of ‘Snow Blanket,’ the speaker begins by making several statements about the day. It’s December, it’s morning, and everything is covered in a “blanket” or a solid layer of snow. The world looks “pure white” at that moment, but the speaker knows that the witness is just papering over the “dark, dormant earth.” Despite the feeling of this phrase, the poet does not take ‘Snow Blanket’ in a negative direction.
He goes on to say that the snow covering allows for a reset, a time for humanity to consider how their lives are being lived and perhaps make a change. It’s a time to be “overcome with youthful mirth. This suggests that it’s beneficial to look to one’s youth, or at least the purer emotions of youth, as a place of goodness.
Immense snowflakes, flurry and descend
worry and fear, float and ascend
Look closely, each crystal unique in form
falling solo, then joining in unified swarm
The second stanza focuses purely on the snowflakes and their movements. The ground is already covered, but it’s still snowing. They’re huge, “immense” snowflakes that are used that fall as “worry and fear” ascend back up to the sky. Snow brings with it memories of childhood and the “youthful mirth” that one likely experienced when it snowed. This snowstorm allows a return to those happier times.
The poet’s speaker asks the reader to “Look closely” at the snowflakes and find even more joy in their “unique” forms. They are one of a kind and “fall…solo,” but they also join together as a swarm. It’s hard not to read these lines without feeling as though there is some symbolism in therm for humanity. Each of us as individuals and the snowstorm representing humankind as a whole. This feeling of unity comes back into the poem in the final stanza.
Embrace the cold, crisp winter air
release the heat of anger and despair
Wrap yourself in the blanket of peace
our chance to help goodwill increase
In the last four lines of ‘Snow Blanket,’ the speaker concludes by asking readers, and all of humanity, to embrace the cold and let it relieve “anger and despair.” He presents the snow as the antipathy of generalized human frustration and concern. It’s clean, white, cold, and simple. When one takes the time to enjoy it, they will find themselves wrapped in a “blanket of peace.” It’s important to note the reuse of the word “blanket” in this line and in the title. There is a blanket of snow and a blanket of peace. In the final line, the speaker concludes by saying that by turning towards a more peaceful and relaxed outlook on life, one will “help goodwill increase.”
Readers who enjoyed ‘Snow Blanket’ might also want to read some related poems. For example,
- ‘Dust of Snow’ by Robert Frost – in this piece, the speaker describes being in the midst of a snowstorm and experiencing the snow as something that alleviates stress and unpleasant mood.
- ‘The Buck in the Snow’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay – is a beautiful poem in which the speaker describes the power of death brings about loss in times of peace.
- ‘London Snow’ by Robert Bridges – describes an early morning walk through London and the various reactions of those observing a snowfall.