Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday's Poetry: "The First Snowfall"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

It snowed here yesterday afternoon - all afternoon, and while there was not much accumulation, the ground did turn white and the birds all flocked to the feeder as if it would be there last opportunity to snarf down the life-sustaining birdseed before winter overtook them.

The snow brings hardships, but it also ushers in a great deal of beauty.  My little farm looked like something straight out of Currier and Ives.

Today's poem, "The First Snowfall" by 19th century American poet James Russell Lowell, depicts a father discussing snow with his daughter while another daughter, one who has seemingly been dead for some time, lies buried in a little grave that is disappearing under the falling snow.   Even though the verse is a bit morose, Lowell offers a beautiful image of the accumulating snow.

The First Snowfall
by James Russell Lowell

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
   And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
   With a silence deep and white.
Every pine and fir and hemlock
   Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
   Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
   Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,
The stiff rails were softened to swan’s-down,
   And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
   The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
   Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
   Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
   As did robins the babes in the wood.
Up spoke our own little Mabel,
   Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
   Who cares for us here below.
Again I looked at the snow-fall,
   And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
   When that mound was heaped so high.
I remembered the gradual patience
   That fell from that cloud-like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
   The scar of our deep-plunged woe.
And again to the child I whispered,
   “The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
   Alone can make it fall!”
Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
   And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,

   Folded close under deepening snow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A haunting poem.