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Poetry/looking for a poem


a friend said her dad used to quote a poem with the phrase, " even the slightest twig on the elm was pearled with ice an inch thick" Might you know what poem this line came from? thanks for your help.

Dear Laura:

I believe the poem you mean is James Russell Lowell's "The First Snow Fall."  Here is the complete poem:

THE snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer's muffled crow,
The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down,
And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, 'Father, who makes it snow?'
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snowfall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o'er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar of our deep-plunged woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
'The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall! '

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.

*** I hope this is the right one.

Ted Nesbitt


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Ted Nesbitt


I am a reference librarian and a former advanced placement English teacher. I can help identify poems, and I can define literary terms. In the area of literary criticism or analyses of specific poems, my experience and interests are these: Shakespeare, 18th- and 19th-century English literature, and American literature. I prefer short, specific questions on particular authors, poems, terms, or literary movements. I will not edit lengthy submissions or write students` assignments.


Masters degree in English.
Highly rated volunteer at the grammar and writing section of for more than two years.

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