Paul T. Gilbert

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The Preparation.

The day grows cold; and now the neutral sky
    Subdues and moderates the world of snow;
And still as nuns the hours steal softly by,
    Enchanted by some spell they do not know.

Now, in the lull of the December gloom
    The helpless birches stretch their pallid arms;
The melancholy cedar's dusky plume
    Droops heavily beneath a thousand charms.

The snow-flecked branches of the maple-wood,
    Painted in memories of drab and grey,
Project upon the trackless solitude
    Pale streaks of opal reaching far away.

Beyond the whiteness of the misty wold,
    Superbly mounted in the lavish west,
The sun victorious stains the snow with gold,
    And blushes crimson on that spotless breast.

Darkness now hovers near; the colors fade;
    The shadows spread and deepen in the dell
And Twilight, loyal courier of Shade,
    Prepares the way, and whispers all is well.

The stiffened branches scarcely dare to creak,
    While Darkness settles on the crest of white,
For lo! the snow-world, now resigned and meek,
    Receives the blind embraces of the night.

—Paul T. Gilbert, 1901