Timing’s everything.  The vapor rises

high in the sky, tossing to and fro,

then freezes, suddenly, and crystalizes

into a perfect flake of miraculous snow.

For countless miles, drifting east above

the world, whirling about in a swirling free-

for-all, appearing aimless, just like love,

but sensing, seeking out, its destiny.


~ From “Snowflake” by William Baer, Borges and Other Sonnets


“The Skater” by Prince Pierre Troubetskoy, 1895

Thou not be loath

To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess

A paradise within thee, happier far.

Let us descend now therefore from this top

Of speculation; for the hour precise

Exacts our parting hence.




Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;

The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.


~ From Paradise Lost by John Milton, born on this day in 1608


“Adam and Eve Chased from the Terrestrial Paradise” by Jean-Achille Benouville, 1841

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through.


Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I:

But when the trees bow down their heads,

The wind is passing by.


~ Christina Rossetti, born on this day in 1830


“A Breezy Day” by Charles Courtney Curran, 1887

A December Day

That’s no December sky!

Surely ’tis June

Holds now her state on high,

Queen of the noon.


Only the tree-tops bare

Crowning the hill,

Clear-cut in perfect air,

Warn us that still


Winter, the aged chief,

Mighty in power,

Exiles the tender leaf,

Exiles the flower.


~ Robert Fuller Murray


“A Bare Tree” by Emily Murray Paterson, 1855-1934

Tonight the house was mouse-still except for some beam

That, whisper or creak, complained of the years it had borne

The weight of reality and the human dream

As the real became more real, and the real more forlorn.

Outside, I wondered why I had come here and where

I would go, and back-looking now, saw the tracks of my bare

Dark footprints set in the moonlit dew like snow,

And thought: I must go where they go, for they must know where to go.


~ From “The Moonlight’s Dream” by Robert Penn Warren


“Moonlight Night” by Ivan Kramskoy, 1880

The Crystal Gazer

I shall gather myself into myself again,

I shall take my scattered selves and make them one,

Fusing them into a polished crystal ball

Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.


I shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent,

Watching the future come and the present go,

And the little shifting pictures of people rushing

In restless self-importance to and fro.


                                            ~ Sara Teasdale


La Boule de Cristal (The Crystal Ball) by John William Waterhouse, 1902


As one within a moated tower,

     I lived my life alone;

And dreamed not other granges’ dower,

     Nor ways unlike mine own.

I thought I loved.  But all alone

     As one within a moated tower

I lived.  Nor truly knew

     One other mortal fortune’s hour.

As one within a moated tower,

     One fate alone I knew.

Who hears afar the break of day

     Before the silvered air

Reveals her hooded presence gray,

     And she, herself, is there?

I know not how, but now I see

     The road, the plain, the pluming tree,

The carter on the wain.

     On my horizon wakes a star.

The distant hillsides wrinkled far

     Fold many hearts’ domain.

On one the fire-worn forests sweep,

     Above a purple mountain-keep

And soar to domes of snow.

     One heart has swarded fountains deep

Where water-lilies blow:

     And one, a cheerful house and yard,

With curtains at the pane,

     Board-walks down lawns all clover-starred,

And full-fold fields of grain.

     As one within a moated tower,

I lived my life alone;

     And dreamed not other granges’ dower,

Nor ways unlike mine own.

     But now the salt-chased seas uncurled

And mountains trooped with pine

     Are mine.  I look on all the world

And all the world is mine.


                          ~ Edith Wyatt


Frederic Edwin Church, 1884

%d bloggers like this: