Poetry Friday: Layers and Snow Sketch


Pencil sketch, © 2017 Michelle Kogan.  Taken from a pic of my sister and I when we were packed into many, many, many layers! (p.s. I’m in the front.)

Happy Poetry Friday! I have to admit the poems I’m sharing are all influenced by the extreme cold weather we’ve been having here in Chicago. So if you are all cuddled up under a blanket you may want to kick them all off before reading the first poem that I’m sharing


Layers and
layers and
layers of
of more
counting my
how many
how many
how many
ah-I’m hot
too many
too many
too many
waiting and
waiting and
to finally be

© Michelle Kogan


by Naomi Shihab Nye

Once with my scarf knotted over my mouth
I lumbered into a storm of snow up the long hill
and did not know where I was going except to the top of it.
In those days we went out like that.
Even children went out like that.
Someone was crying hard at home again,
raging blizzard of sobs.

I dragged the sled by its rope,
which we normally did not do

Read the rest of the poem here-poets.org


by Pablo Neruda

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft
as rabbits.
I slipped my feet
into them
as though into
with threads of
and goatskin.
Violent socks,
my feet were
two fish made
of wool,
two long sharks
sea-blue, shot
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons:
my feet
were honored
in this way
They were
so handsome
for the first time
my feet seemed to me
like two decrepit
firemen, firemen
of that woven
of those glowing

Read the rest of the poem here
Catherine is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Reading to the Core, stop by for more poetry. Thanks for hosting Catherine! 





About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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37 Responses to Poetry Friday: Layers and Snow Sketch

  1. Kathy Mazurowski says:

    Thank you for the layers in your poem. I feel those layers and couldn’t wait to get home and lose a few today. I think you inspired me to write about the feeling of a few less layers home.

  2. “when it is a matter of two socks
    made of wool
    in winter.”
    Is that not the most perfect ending to an ode ever? I love it. And, I had not read that poem before. Thank you for sharing it.
    I love the pencil sketch of you and your sister. I have such memories of pull-on boots, bread bag insulators and sledding down the “side hill” with my sister. Your work took me right there. Lovely. Thanks

  3. So many layers needed here in Boston today. Brrrrrr! Here’s a layer I’m wondering if you had as a child — plastic bags over your socks before putting your boots on. Pure genius! Warmth, moisture protection, and boots sliding right on and off. Sweaty feet, though.

  4. Irene Latham says:

    Oh wow I love how all those layers lead to being layer free. 🙂 And your bundled up snowkids… adorable! xo

  5. I bundled myself up to go to the library this afternoon and the librarian laughed out loud when I walked in! I do love Neruda’s ode to those glorious socks. It makes me want to knit a pair. Thank you for sharing these layers of goodness, poems and picture! Happy New Year, Michelle!

  6. macrush53 says:

    What a great three poems. I felt those layers on me. Stay warm.

  7. I do love the way Neruda’s opinion of his feet goes on such a journey, shapeshifting and traveling to the stars in those soft socks. I love those layers, puffy and thin, heavy and light. Like the snow itself, keeping the earth warmer, giving the roots and bulbs a blanket through the winter.

  8. lindabaie says:

    I love “puff-ball-of/can’t-even-move/layers”, Michelle and the other two poems are wonderful too, both new to me. I have an abiding love of “smart-wool socks”, think they are so wonderful, and a clear memory of sledding down a steep hill, wanting only to get back to the top. Nye knows what she writes, at least it always seems to connect with me. Thank you, hoping your ‘warmth” will return!

  9. cvarsalona says:

    I hear you, Michelle. I am inclined to wear layers these days and socks to bed. Your poem was befitting the weather patterns and of the other poems these lines stood out: Now I think of it
    when I stare at paper or into silences
    between human beings.
    Your sketch will make a wonderful entry point into the Children’s Corner of my upcoming winter gallery. Will you sign it and then send it to me for Winter Wonderland as one of your offerings? Thanks.

  10. So many layers in your choices of poems. I think I liked yours the best though, because the poem was cleverly lots of layers of short lines. Hope things are warmer for you soon, without the need for layers.

  11. maryleehahn says:

    Your layers made me laugh! I want to share your poem with my students as an example of how form fits function!!

    • Hi Mary Lee, fee, free to share my poem. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, I just started a new set of classes I’m teaching and have been prepping for them since Saturday. If your weather is similar to ours, we warmed up quite a bit, but the temps are going to plummet again tomorrow, so those layers aren’e going anywhere–keep warm!

  12. haitiruth says:

    Shiver. And here I am sending my tropical daughter back your direction! Back to layers… Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  13. Tabatha says:

    My son has trouble staying warm — he has pretty severe Raynaud’s and his hands turn really bizarre colors easily. He probably ought to dress like the narrator of your poem! Nye’s poem is very poignant.

  14. Laura Shovan says:

    When I saw your art sketch on Facebook, that adorable snowman’s expression caught my eye. This is a laugh out loud poem. So many layers! So much waiting! (I’m glad for the layers today, as cold as it is.) This Neruda poem is a favorite among knitters — I can see those sea-blue sharks.

  15. Diane Mayr says:

    When it’s quitting time at work, it is such an ordeal to bundle up before going home! It’s been a steady stream of complaints with temperatures sub-freezing for so long. I believe this coming week we will find relief, and then, I’ll be able to really enjoy the poem you shared since I’ll no longer be in the middle of it.

  16. These are wonderful poems to snuggle up with through these cold days. I am loving layers down in Indiana, but I must confess, I’m often taking off layers while my husband piles them on higher. And I love Neruda’s Ode to Socks. I will have to send that one to my daughter as well as she has quite a sock fetish.

  17. Some perfect poems for this time of year, Michelle. With -30 wind chills, we’ve had layers upon our layers! Finally got up to the freezing mark today, and it feels balmy…how sad is that??

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