Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday sonnet: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Achingly poignant with its imagery of loss, this sonnet was written in 1886.

"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.

Rhyme scheme: abba abba cde cde


AlanDP said...

Thank you, that's beautiful.

I had to look up "benedight."

Albatross said...

So did I.

It is a great poem, though. One of those where the imagery is plain enough for you to get without having to analyze it too much, yet not so obvious that it seems trite. I'm not a big Longfellow fan, but I really like this sonnet.