Snow that has fallen in the night
Blankets at last the sodden clay
And offers such peace to our sight
As if it were the eternal day.
Yet shoppers, now, begin to fight
Among stripped shelves, and husbands say
Some stinging thing to frazzled wives
Just before the first guest arrives.

What blessing doesn’t come ensnared
With some hand-trembling nervousness?
When the announcing angel stared
On Mary, he had first to impress
In soft words she must not be scared,
For his refulgence came to bless.
Yet, even so, her lips gave out
An innocent quavering of doubt.

My wife, before she was my wife,
Let three pale fingers graze my back
As I walked by her; a hot knife
Of thrill and fear made its swift track
Through me as if it’d cleave my life.
But, here, I zip her dress’s back,
And she turns, asking, does it look right,
This bloom of violet and white?

Unworthy men who’re somehow loved,
Oh, fool, who falls on some great gift,
You know how grace waits just above
When the dark hour seems adrift,
When the earth groans for rest, crowds shove
In greed, and rude words spark a rift,
To show, even now, our peace is drawn
Beyond this crisp but anxious dawn.

—James Matthew Wilson