December 23, 2012

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry

Edited and Introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

The Cross of Snow

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Public Domain. Reprinted from “The Maine Poets,” Down East Books, 2003. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine poet laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 228-8263.

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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.

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