One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
I absolutely enjoy this poem. I think that I read it every day before I went to bed a couple of weeks ago. Stevens evokes the essence of winter, cold, and snow within this poem. The "Snow Man" is not a man in the snow, a person looking at a winterscape from a window, or a rushed pedestrian going through a park. He is a man with the snow predicating his being. This has come about by 1) having "a mind of winter." A mind of winter is a way of comprehending (or grasping) the objects and nature of winter--it's not to be shocked, shivering, but is comfortable and equal in position to the winter subject (the mental attribute). The second point enforces this: 2) "have been cold for a long time." To be comfortable and to allow winter to come inside oneself (the physical attribute). At this point, the winter-fear (misery) that people have to rush to the warm home or office is no longer at the forefront of the mind, but it is an embracing of the surrounding. Winter has a consistency or same-ness involved within it. The cold, the blanket of snow, the wind, and the appearance of everything. There is an emptiness or nothingness that is meant to be perceived--nothing more or less.