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Wish at First Snow
John L. Stanizzi


If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
                                                                                                   --St. Francis of Assisi

first snow of winter
soft and light
just enough
to cover everything
it falls silently
through the lovely branches
and onto the silent ground
tonight I am filled
with a kind of peace
that touches
the top of my head
so faintly
it might be snow
it says stay    relax
embrace the breeze
that swirls calmly
through your self
and I do
snow falls
out of the blackness
and through the flames
of my little fire
miniature falling stars
or lightning bugs
seeking refuge
from the tiny cold
of their own
small light
I add 3 logs to the fire
then four
I know they are watching me –
fox     skunk
possum and squirrel
raccoon and coyote
swaddled in their elegant wings
I will add extra logs tonight
so the fire is warm enough
that they may come out
and lie with me
and the birds will land on the ground
and on my shoulders
and we will share the warmth
oh please JahJah*
let them come out now
so that I may scratch
the skunk under her chin
until she purrs
and the chickadee will perch
on my finger
that I may kiss his tiny beak
I’ve made the fire
nice and warm tonight
please                    let them come out
if not now
and I will dream of
leaving my chair
and lying down among them
thankful for the warmth of the fire
and for each of their small bodies
warmed by the comfort of trust

From Sundowning (Main Street Rag, 2020).
This poem first appeared in The Lake (May, 2016).
Used here with permission.
*Jah Jah as a term for the Lord God of Israel



John L. Stanizzi is an adjunct teacher of literature at Manchester Community College in Connecticut, where he and his wife, Carol, live in beautiful, rural, rustic Coventry. Author of ten books, John’s poems and nonfiction have been widely published. Most recently, he received an Artists Fellowship from The Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Learn more about John at

Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Calming and a beautiful scene portrayed in this poem.
Posted 11/27/2021 08:25 PM
Vividly descriptive, expressive piece that celebrates nature!
Posted 11/27/2021 05:09 PM
Doris Bezio:
Beautifull, moving poem. A treasure in these trying times. ~ Doris Bezio
Posted 11/27/2021 12:28 PM
So calming to read this in these hectic holiday days. I will read this poem again and again. We need this unity with our fellow creatures of the earth. Thank you John. Marilyn Z. Windau
Posted 11/27/2021 08:52 AM
Larry Schug:
A fine poetic vision of what our relationship to all the other forms of life with whom we share this world should be and could be if we are conscious of the work we need to do and do it.
Posted 11/27/2021 08:24 AM
A lovely vision and poem
Posted 11/27/2021 06:53 AM

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