The First Snowfall

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The First Snowfall - the, first, snowfall

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 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 that renewed our 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.

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