The Blizzard I Visit Your City Disguised As

The blizzard I visit your city disguised as will never be over and never arrive. – Franz Wright

The line above is from the poem, Postcard 2 and was published in the May 2012 issue of Poetry. The poem is about Wright’s father who deserted the family. The poet paints him as a sympathetic person, worthy of praise for staying as long as he did. Wright expresses no such sympathy for his mother. His father would write him faithfully every year, but it would be a postcard, not a letter, and each year the words were the same line about his father being a blizzard.

How can a man be disguised as a blizzard that will never be over? Perhaps Wright’s father was thinking of the chilling effect of a broken home, one that was full of bickering and bitterness. Such an upbringing could make a person cold-hearted. As a blizzard reduces visibility, Wright might be blind to his coldness. Such hardness of heart, lack of trust, emotional imbalance, could be a person’s ‘normal’. Poisoning of the childhood environment would produce a mental and emotional condition that would “never be over.” It would last for his entire life.

How could the blizzard that lasts forever never arrive? Maybe the blizzard is already present in the child. He will grow up with this coldness and have missed its arrival.

We could interpret this as a cautionary poem. Uncontrolled venting of ones anger could have a long-term effect on children and adults. A coldness could come over them like a blizzard making it impossible for them to enjoy normal relationships. They might not even be aware of these ill effects. How much better it is to treat others with kindness.

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