Poetry Sunday: It sifts from Leaden Sieves by Emily Dickinson

This wonderfully descriptive poem by Emily Dickinson chronicles a winter snowfall. She captures in a few words the movement of the snow and the way it settles upon the winter landscape, obscuring the familiar and making everything look different and strange. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the poem is that it never mentions the word "snow" and yet we instinctively know what the poet is referring to and her words capture the spectral beauty of a new snowfall perfectly.

It sifts from Leaden Sieves 

by Emily Dickinson

It sifts from Leaden Sieves -
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road -

It makes an even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain -
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again -

It reaches to the Fence -
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces -
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack - and Stem -
A Summer’s empty Room -
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them -

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen -
Then stills its Artisans - like Ghosts -
Denying they have been.


  1. Replies
    1. We experienced this when we were in Colorado in late October and early November a few years ago. It was magical.

  2. I wouldn't have known what she was referring to if you haven't mentioned snow. Still, it's pretty.

    1. That's interesting. It seemed so clear to me, I was sure everyone would understand it.

  3. Remarkable, indeed. Dorothy. If we could all paint pictures with words like this.... P.x

    1. It's a gift - a gift that I certainly don't possess.


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