The First Snow
Not yet was winter come to earth’s soft floor,
The tideless wave, the warm white road, the shore,
The serried town whose small street tortuously
      Led darkling to the dazzling sea.
Not yet to breathing man, not to his song,
Not to his comforted heart; not to the long
Close-cultivated lands beneath the hill.
      Summer was gently with them still.
But on the Apennine mustered the cloud;
The grappling storm shut down. Aloft, aloud,
Ruled secret tempest one long day and night,
      Until another morning’s light.
O tender mountain-tops and delicate,
Where summer-long the westering sunlight sate!
Within that fastness darkened from the sun,
      What solitary things were done?
The clouds let go, they rose, they winged away;
Snow-white the altered mountains faced the day,
As saints who keep their counsel sealed and fast,
      Their anguish over-past.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (
Created April 9, 2001; not revised.