Poetry: February 2007 Archives

In Honor of the Birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
The Cross of Snow

In the long, sleepless watches of the night,
A gentle face -- the face of one long dead --
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
Here in this room she died; and soul more white
Never through martyrdom of fire was led
To its repose; nor can in books be read
The legend of a life more benedight.
There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.



In the last year or so, I have posted a number of poems by great poets without comment. I have done so intentionally, and I thought I should offer a short explanation for these posts.

The most important reason is, simply, that the poems speak for themselves. Most are among those considered great, or classic, and were written more than 100 years ago. Great art, in any form, speaks to what is deepest and best within us; it conveys many layers of meaning. It is both subtle and beautiful. Most of what passes for modern poetry is meaningless tripe, without meaning or beauty. It will be forgotten in less than 50 years. The works of Longfellow, or Robert Southwell, or Auden will be read and enjoyed and pondered for generations to come. The poems I have posted have spoken to me, and I hope they speak to you, too.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Poetry category from February 2007.

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