The Cross of Snow (2017)

For SSAATTBB chorus
Duration: ca. 4 minutes

The Cross of Snow is based on a poem of the same name by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882). In 1861, Longfellow lost his wife in a tragic accident in which a candle had lit her dress on fire. He attempted to extinguish the flames by flinging himself onto her but to no avail, and he was left with severe facial scars as a result. It is a poem of grief, despair, and haunting guilt at the prospect of a loved one's death, but also the joy and love that comes with celebrating their life.

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In the long, sleepless watches of the night,   
  A gentle face — the face of one long dead —   
  Looks at me from the wall, where round its head   
  The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.   
Here in this room she died; and soul more white   
   Never through martyrdom of fire was led   
   To its repose; nor can in books be read   
   The legend of a life more benedight.   
There is a mountain in the distant West   
   That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines   
   Displays a cross of snow upon its side.   
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast   
   These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes   
   And seasons, changeless since the day she died.