on a night of snow
This is among my favourite sonnets; I wish it were better known, so here it is:
ON A NIGHT OF SNOW
by Elizabeth Coatsworth
"Cat, if you go outdoors you must walk in the snow.
You will come back with little white shoes on your feet,
little white slippers of snow that have heels of sleet.
Stay by the fire, my Cat. Lie still, do not go.
See how the flames are leaping and hissing low.
I will bring you a saucer of milk like a marguerite,
so white and so smooth, so spherical and so sweet–
stay with me, Cat. Outdoors the wild winds blow."
"Outdoors the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night.
Strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore;
and more than cats move, lit by our eyes’ green light,
on silent feet where the meadow grasses hang hoar–
Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might,
and things that are yet to be done. Open the door!"
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