Less than two years ago my husband and I relocated to Southern California where "winter" is really autumn-like on the coldest of days, but I will never, ever, forget some of the bone-chilling cold temperatures of Colorado in February.
O.K, so even though I am not roughing through winter anymore, there is a special poet who really resonates with me during the winter months...and that's Sara Teasdale. She was an American poet (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933) who was particularly well known for her lyrical style.
In 1918, her poetry collection Love Songs received the Poetry Prize which would eventually be renamed the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
Sara was romantically linked with another of my favorite poets, Vachel Lindsay. He loved her but didn't feel he could financially support her properly. As a result, she married Ernst Filsinger whom she eventually divorced. Tragically, Sara was an emotionally tortured artist and ended her own life with an overdose of sleeping pills at age 48.
One of things I appreciate about Sara Teasdale's poetry was her masterful use of figurative language which translates into strong visual imagery. I've provided just a sampling of some of my favorite Sara Teasdale "wintry" feeling poems here that can be used to teach all kinds of wonderful things for students in third grade and up.
Yes, these are more sophisticated poems for sure, but they're still accessible and not as difficult to comprehend as some other "serious" poems. If you use these poems as a teaching text, I think you'll find that Teasdale's descriptive vocabulary and use of figurative language is complex enough...but still understandable.
February Twilight (personification)
I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was no other creature
That saw what I could see
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.
A Winter Night (personification, simile)
My window-pane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold to-night,
The moon is cruel, and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.
God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro,
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.
My room is like a bit of June,
Warm and close-curtained fold on fold,
But somewhere, like a homeless child,
My heart is crying in the cold.
In the Train (metaphor, personification, alliteration)
Fields beneath a quilt of snow
From which the rocks and stubble sleep,
And in the west a shy white star
That shivers as it wakes from deep.
The restless rumble of the train,
The drowsy people in the car,
Steel blue twilight in the world,
And in my heart a timid star.
Central Park at Dusk (simile)
Buildings above the leafless trees
Loom high as castles in a dream,
While one by one the lamps come out
To thread the twilight with a gleam.
There is no sign of leaf or bud,
A hush is over everything.
Silent as women wait for love,
The world is waiting for the spring.
These next two Teasdale poems aren't particularly wintry, I just happen to really like them a lot:
Evening: New York (metaphor, alliteration, simile, assonance)
Blue dust of evening over my city,
Over the ocean of roofs and the tall towers
Where the window-lights, myriads and myriads,
Bloom from the walls like climbing flowers.
A Fantasy (simile, metaphor, alliteration)
Her voice is like clear water
That drips upon a stone
In forests far and silent
Where Quiet plays alone.
Her thoughts are like the lotus
Abloom by sacred streams
Beneath the temple arches
Where Quiet sits and dreams.
Her kisses are the roses
That glow while dusk is deep
In Persian garden closes
Where Quiet falls asleep.
Here is an easy to use alphabetized list (by title) of Sara Teasdale poems from PublicDomainPoetry.com.