Conor Sweetman

The Heavens Draped in Sackcloth Sigh

Conor Sweetman
The Heavens Draped in Sackcloth Sigh

The heavens draped in sackcloth sigh

       And, heavy-hearted, say goodbye

To closest family, dearest kin,

       As frozen tears well up within.

Then gazing at the barren earth,

       The skies release with mingled mirth

Their very own to journey down

       And wreath the world with winter’s crown.


Created part of nature’s flow,

       Yet always new creations grow

Where snow descends from clouds above—

       A quiet word, an artist’s love—

And, painting with a single hue,

       It colors in the world anew:

The rocks on plains are summits high,

       Now peaking through a cloudy sky,

And dark-barked craggy lifeless trees

       Are bursting forth with brightest leaves,


And down below, the silent sea:

       A blanket of serenity,

Yet welcoming the playful sounds

       Of footsteps laughing through the mounds

Of playful powder—hills and plains

       Where children bound and angels deign

To leave their evanescent marks

       In snow unmelted by the sparks

Of nascent creativity

       And brushes of divinity.


While gazing from a windowsill,

       A wizened man can wonder still:

Rain, fog, and hail—but why this snow?

       For beauty such, who do we owe

Our gratitude, our silent awe,

       Our disappointment when it thaws?

Who ever could have thought up snow?

       And could it offer hints to know?

By Michael Stalcup
Missionary & Poet

Photograph by Sho Niimura