Thursday, December 5, 2013

The First Snowfall

Reading this poem today with my AP Lang/American Lit students and I was astounded at how perfectly this poem speaks to me. (Poor James Russell Lowell; he buried three children. I can't even imagine--don't want to.)
The healing that comes from the Lord, from the seasons/passage of time, and from my darling baby girl: this healing is undeniable, and although the pain is still there--the scars still remain--I have found so much joy with sweet Georgia Louise at my side.  In her eyes, I am not a mother who longs for a lost child.  I'm just Mommy.  And God, in His infinite mercy, sent me the most precious little girl to help temper the pain I feel at the thought of the little mound and headstone in Marietta that mark the grave of my William.
Georgia loves her mommy with wild, total abandon--sometimes it feels like she loves me with a strength and conviction that surpasses that of just one child. I will always miss my Will.  I will always miss what I lost on May 2nd, 2009.  But the joy that I have found in the wake of that pain is so intense and so sublime that I have to acknowledge how truly blessed I am.

"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        5
  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,        10
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,        15
  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.        20
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,        25
  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,        30
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        35
  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 [brother],
  Folded close under deepening snow.

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