The Red House

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

On the wide fields the water gleams like snow,
And snow like water pale beneath pale sky,
When old and burdened the white clouds are stooped low.
Sudden as thought, or startled near bird's cry,
The whiteness of first light on hills of snow
New dropped from skiey hills of tumbling white
Streams from the ridge to where the long woods lie;
And tall ridge-trees lift their soft crowns of white
Above slim bodies all black or flecked with snow.
By the tossed foam of the not yet frozen brook
Black pigs go straggling over fields of snow;
The air is full of snow, and starling and rook
Are blacker amid the myriad streams of light.
Warm as old fire the Red House burns yet bright
Beneath the unmelting snows of pine and larch,
While February moves as slow, as slow
As Spring might never come, never come March.

Amid such snows, by generations haunted,
By echoes, memories and dreams enchanted,
Firm when dark winds through the night stamp and shout,
Brightest when time silvers the world all about,
That old house called The Heart burns, burns, and still
Outbraves the mortal threat of the hanging hill.

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