Mid December misty morn.
All the world is weather-worn.
No work for days had yet begun.
A storm-worn stranger was the sun.
All too familiar now the glow
Of hearth-fire ember waning low.
The cows are stirring in the barn.
Grandmother stationed at her yarn.
And in the corner, tucked away,
Are children eager at their play.
They’re furthest from the glowing hearth
Too warm for their unbridled mirth.
While we, care-laden, huddle near
The ember-wood felled yesteryear.
The morning of the first full day
A mountain peak rose through the gray;
Inciting all the more the storm
With clawing hands groped round its form.
And all that day a wintry feud
Raged in the upper altitude;
A stony structure, briefly lent,
Unto a churning firmament.
We watched with an affixed concern
Still hoped our labor’s soon return.
But briefly stalled, the storm once more
Sent windy rappings round our door.
The only industry that day:
Our hearth-fire as it glowed away.
And glowed the more in dim of night
Without a rival starry light.
By morning of the second day
The world had stilled to silent gray.
A deathly chill of olden times
Descending heaven’s highest climes.
And ghostly forms ran round apace
The shapeless, savage, solemn place.
Grandmother scarcely stirred the while
The world endured its wintry trial.
But glanced up outward now and then
At something past the world of men.
Perhaps upon some swaying tree?
Or drawn inward by memory —
Some fond remembrance, dim o’er time
Of olden days, grown sweet sublime?
At length, the drops to snowflakes turned
While all the more the hearth-fire burned —
The savage outward scene made new
With first of Winter’s tender dew.
I watch as snowflakes lay their claim
On all the things I’ve known by name,
And slowly see them shrink from sight
Beneath a growing wintry white,
Until, at length, the young one’s glee
Rises out to beckon me.
Then we within our happy dome,
Form memories that make a home.
But I unconsciously adjourn;
To lonesome places I return,
Pondering potential ways
To compensate for storm-lost days.
I stroll our seldom toured hall,
As out beyond, the snowflakes fall,
And scan those faces known to us
Because they were the best of us.
But some stark, solemn, sentimental power
Strikes me in that pensive hour.
As glows of embers dance upon
The faces of the dearly gone.
Thoughts long forgotten gather near,
That testify that life is dear.
That see these moments speeding past
Saying, ‘Hold each as the last!’
For days will come when life will be
Nothing but fond memory;
As when the children off at play
Were in the corner tucked away.
I’ll scarce recall the hours when
I labored for the sons of men,
And scarce recall the silent ways,
The world demands our better days.
And then I’ll rest upon a hall,
Where only hurried footsteps fall;
And fade as I return to dust
As all the sons of mankind must.
But one day, may prompt one like me,
To wonder at his destiny.
I nod to thank them, and depart
Awoken to newness of life and heart.