How mem’ries of the long ago
Are swarming through my brain today,
The times I used to shovel snow
In Minnesota far away.
It fell all winter long and blew
In drifts as high as Trompen’s form,
And all that time I never knew
The rest and joy of being warm.
My feet or hands were always cold;
And envy tortured me indeed
For sheep that huddled in the fold
While I was hustling hay for feed.
I now, in fancy, see the shed,
All covered o’er and banked with straw,
The cattle waiting to be fed,
The tons of hay we had to draw.
The prancing horses “fine as silk,”
Hitched to the sleigh that bore the rack,
The spotted cows I had to milk
With fingers numb when we got back.
All this before the twilight grey
Of morn broke over fields of snow –
Then breakfast and to school away;
This was the life of long ago.
Dost wonder I now hate to see
The snow drifts piled along the street
So painfully reminding me
Of frozen ears and chill-blained feet?
Dost wonder that I shirk the task
Of walking out in such a sight
And much prefer to sit and bask
By grates of blazing anthracite?
I hope when life’s sad day is done
To find a land described like this:
A region of eternal sun
Set in a canopy of bliss.
Long, shady lanes, bedecked with flowers,
That wind through valleys wide and deep,
With here and there vine-covered bowers,
And clover beds on which to sleep;
Where balmy breezes ever blow
With odors of the rose and pine,
Where there is neither ice nor snow –
(I want no more of these in mine);
Where soft-toned harps can ever wake
Emotion that subdues, refines,
And no one cracks a lung to make
E flat above the ledger lines.
Nebraska State Journal – Dec 5, 1897