Songs of the Winter Days
I. The sky has turned its heart away, The earth its sorrow found; The daisies turn from childhood's play, And creep into the ground. The earth is black and cold and hard; Thin films of dry white ice, Across the rugged wheel-tracks barred, The children's feet entice. Dark flows the stream, as if it mourned The winter in the land; With idle icicles adorned, That mill-wheel soon will stand. But, friends, to say 'tis cold, and part, Is to let in the cold; We'll make a summer of the heart, And laugh at winter old. II. With vague dead gleam the morning white Comes through the window-panes; The clouds have fallen all the night, Without the noise of rains. As of departing, unseen ghost, Footprints go from the door; The man himself must long be lost Who left those footprints hoar! Yet follow thou; tread down the snow; Leave all the road behind; Heed not the winds that steely blow, Heed not the sky unkind; For though the glittering air grow dark, The snow will shine till morn; And long ere then one dear home-spark Will winter laugh to scorn. III. Oh wildly wild the roaring blast Torments the fallen snow! The wintry storms are up at last, And care not how they go! In foam-like wreaths the water hoar, Rapt whistling in the air, Gleams through the dismal twilight frore; A region in despair, A spectral ocean lies outside, Torn by a tempest dark; Its ghostly billows, dim descried, Leap on my stranded bark. Death-sheeted figures, long and white, Rave driving through the spray; Or, bosomed in the ghastly night, Shriek doom-cries far away. IV. A morning clear, with frosty light From sunbeams late and low; They shine upon the snow so white, And shine back from the snow. Down tusks of ice one drop will go, Nor fall: at sunny noon 'Twill hang a diamond-fade, and grow An opal for the moon. And when the bright sad sun is low Behind the mountain-dome, A twilight wind will come and blow Around the children's home, And puff and waft the powdery snow, As feet unseen did pass; While, waiting in its bed below, Green lies the summer grass.
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