To a Wreath of Snow

O transient voyager of heaven!
   O silent sign of winter skies!
What adverse wind thy sail has driven
   To dungeons where a prisoner lies?

Methinks the hands that shut the sun
   So sternly from this morning’s brow
Might still their rebel task have done
   And checked a thing so frail as thou.

They would have done it had they known
   The talisman that dwelt in thee,
For all the suns that ever shone
   Have never been so kind to me!

For many a week, and many a day
   My heart was weighed with sinking gloom
When morning rose in mourning grey
   And faintly lit my prison room

But angel like, when I awoke,
   Thy silvery form so soft and fair
Shining through darkness, sweetly spoke
   Of cloudy skies and mountains bare;

The dearest to a mountaineer
   Who, all life long has loved the snow
That crowned her native summits drear,
   Better, than greenest plains below.

And voiceless, soulless, messenger
   Thy presence waked a thrilling tone
That comforts me while thou art here
   And will sustain when thou art gone

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 3, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.