Untitled Sonnet by Alexander Smith (1853)

by on Mar 30, 2016

Sheath’d is the river as it glideth by,
Frost-pearl’d are all the boughs in forests old,
The sheep are huddling close upon the wold,
And over them the stars tremble on high.
Pure joys these winter nights around me lie;
‘Tis fine to loiter through the lighted street
At Christmas time, and guess from brow and pace
The doom and history of each one we meet,
What kind of heart beats in each dusky case;
Whiles startled by the beauty of a face
In a shop-light a moment. Or instead,
To dream of silent fields where calm and deep
The sunshine lieth like a golden sleep–
Recalling sweetest looks of Summers dead.


Here is my response to that sonnet, also untitled:

Beneath the shelter of a bridge, homeless
Families have gathered ’round a fire,
Flames lick through rusted sides of barrel, pyre
Of wrapping paper, Christmas detritus.
Looking at them might somehow indict us,
So we turn the corner, walk the next block
Fashionably festive, bound for joys,
Adorned in party garb, a laughing flock
Anticipating the exchange of toys.
Our procession is watched by two small boys
Who’ve wandered away, as children will do
Toward a source of something more exciting.
Some among us nod at them in greeting–
All of us subdued as we continue.

—Laura M Kaminski


Laura M Kaminski grew up in Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently lives in rural Missouri. She is an Associate Editor at Right Hand Pointing. More about her poetry is available in her interview with THE STRONG LETTERS.

5 thoughts on “Untitled Sonnet by Alexander Smith (1853)

  1. Andrea Wyatt says:

    Laura, I love your poem–I will remember it this Christmas and “be subdued…”
    Thanks, Andrea

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