When discussing American poetry, one always seems to begin at Longfellow. Enormously popular during his lifetime (and still), I must say that I do recognize myself (and a particularly American sensibility) when I read his work. Though I'm not fond of long, narrative poems in general (his specialty), I do like some of his shorter stuff. "The Children's Hour" is much more poignant now that I have a little one of my own, but since we all read that one in high school, I thought I'd post something a bit lesser-known.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.
P.S. If you know these poems I'm posting, you probably know that I can't get all the line spacings right on blogger. If you are aware of a way to tab in at the beginning of the line, let me know! So far, I haven't figured it out.