Conrad Potter Aiken

(5 August 1889 – 17 August 1973 / Savannah, Georgia)

The House Of Dust: Part 02: 11: Snow Falls. The Sky Is Grey, And Sullenly Glares - Poem by Conrad Potter Aiken

Snow falls. The sky is grey, and sullenly glares
With purple lights in the canyoned street.
The fiery sign on the dark tower wreathes and flares...
The trodden grass in the park is covered with white,
The streets grow silent beneath our feet...
The city dreams, it forgets its past to-night.

And one, from his high bright window looking down
Over the enchanted whiteness of the town,
Seeing through whirls of white the vague grey towers,
Desires like this to forget what will not pass,
The littered papers, the dust, the tarnished grass,
Grey death, stale ugliness, and sodden hours.
Deep in his heart old bells are beaten again,
Slurred bells of grief and pain,
Dull echoes of hideous times and poisonous places.
He desires to drown in a cold white peace of snow.
He desires to forget a million faces...

In one room breathes a woman who dies of hunger.
The clock ticks slowly and stops. And no one winds it.
In one room fade grey violets in a vase.
Snow flakes faintly hiss and melt on the window.
In one room, minute by minute, the flutist plays
The lamplit page of music, the tireless scales.
His hands are trembling, his short breath fails.

In one room, silently, lover looks upon lover,
And thinks the air is fire.
The drunkard swears and touches the harlot's heartstrings
With the sudden hand of desire.

And one goes late in the streets, and thinks of murder;
And one lies staring, and thinks of death.
And one, who has suffered, clenches her hands despairing,
And holds her breath...

Who are all these, who flow in the veins of the city,
Coil and revolve and dream,
Vanish or gleam?
Some mount up to the brain and flower in fire.
Some are destroyed; some die; some slowly stream.

And the new are born who desire to destroy the old;
And fires are kindled and quenched; and dreams are broken,
And walls flung down...
And the slow night whirls in snow over towers of dreamers,
And whiteness hushes the town.

Topic(s) of this poem: snow


Comments about The House Of Dust: Part 02: 11: Snow Falls. The Sky Is Grey, And Sullenly Glares by Conrad Potter Aiken

  • Susan Williams (1/31/2015 10:36:00 PM)


    This poem does have beauty. It is beautiful like a boa constrictor- sleek, graceful, powerful, perfect in its design. A raw, tortured look at life under a blanket of gilded snow. (Report) Reply

    46 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (1/29/2015 2:55:00 AM)


    A city life and its different characters are included in the poem about snow and it is wonderfully carved out. A nice beautiful poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

Read poems about / on: snow, city, murder, fire, purple, grief, flower, death, music, woman, peace, dream, night, pain, dark, sky, house, wind, women



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

Poem Edited: Thursday, January 8, 2015


Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]