The Night Before Snow


The dark is holding its breath
and folks are bedding down.
They wear socks,
pull up their grandmother’s quilts,
a fire on the hearth coals warmly,
dogs and cats have wrapped
their noses in fur. It’s quieter than any
other time of the year. It is the night
before snow. Light flickers
along our neighbourhood walk
as people look out through their blinds
then withdraw into their dens.
Not yet, not yet, they whisper
and turn down the lamps.
And every random sparkle,
the whisker of a dragon mask,
the twirling of a copper bell,
candlelight on polished oak,
startles us. We’re in training.
Soon we’ll be required to witness
something miraculous, a world
transformed and heaven
brought to earth. We kiss
our babies, light incense,
open our books and wait –
it is the night before snow.  Tomorrow
all will be forgiven,
and there’ll be gifts.