About Madame Neige (Madame Snow)

Madame Neige is a wry and whimsical look at the snow fall that besieged Paris in early December. Streets were blocked, motorists and travelers held hostage by the white tantrum of weather.

The speaker in the poem is viewing this wintry situation through her window. She compares the snow's entrance to that of a pale empress overtaking the area with commanding presence. This image is beautifully illustrated by Marie-France's painting, "Neige". Its swirled landscape and chilled grace complement the lines ---sailed in, swirling/ around  Île-de-France /  in her sabled cloak and gown.

As the poem  progresses, the woman muses to herself that such a climatic invasion may be payback, avenging the campaign Napoleon launched to conquer Russia in 1812.  And though "all avenues are blocked " and citizens "blend' into this waiting,  she is hopeful the next day will be clearer. Her outlook predicts the sky will be "punctuated with a scant circling of birds, a breath of freedom, a pause in this run-on occurrence of snow and fog.  

© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.