Register Monday | June 24 | 2019

A Piece of the Storm


From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,

A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room

And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up

From your book, saw it the moment it landed. That's all

There was to it. No more than a solemn waking

To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,

A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that

Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,

Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,

That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:

"It's time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening."


Excerpted from Blizzard of One  by Mark Strand Copyright © 1998 by Mark Strand. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Mark Strand was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, and was raised and educated in the United States. He is the author of ten earlier books of poems. He is also the author of a book of stories, Mr. and Mrs. Baby, three volumes of translations (of works by Rafael Alberti and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and of anonymous Quechua lyrics), a number of anthologies (most recently 100 Great Poems of the Twentieth Century), and monographs on the contemporary artists William Bailey and Edward Hopper. He has received many honors and grants for his poems, including a MacArthur Fellowship for 1987–92, and in 1990 he was chosen Poet Laureate of the United States. In 1993 he was awarded the Bollingen Prize, and in 1999 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Blizzard of One. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.