The Lost Country

Fall 2012 • Vol. 1, No. 1

issn 2326-5310 (online)

First Snow

By Maria Stromberg

This work was published in the Fall 2012 issue of The Lost Country. You may purchase a copy of this issue from us or, if you prefer, from Amazon.

I wonder with what amazement
the first man and woman must have gazed
at the snow
for the first time falling
gently on the withered earth
coldly enveloping
the fallen dying world
in a curtain all of white
startling them out of the despair
with which they had watched
Eden’s eternal summer
turn to autumn
the fruits falling from the boughs
the leaves drying
and the high merciless winds
stripping them from the trees
—and the two of them
in the skins of dead animals
if this was their punishment
the world dying around them
with them
the summer gone forever
which was all that they had ever known—
when into their terrified view
the first snowflake drifted
and then the second
as if the pale sky was falling
they must have held out their hands
and flinched at the cold
the wet flakes melting on their palms
on their eyelashes
running down their cheeks like tears
and when they woke
huddled together for warmth
under their furs
the world was transformed
into a landscape of sheer white
which in the sun
reflecting light
cold but marvelous
and they wondered if this
was their ending
a death by purity
which they could no longer bear
being so stained
and fallen
and I wonder if they knew then
or if they had to wait till spring
—to see the melting drifts of snow
make rivulets
soaking into the ugly earth
where the first green shoots
of the world’s first spring
lifted their heads to the light—
before they understood
that the unbearable beauty
of a white winter
was indeed
God’s first gift
to the fallen world.