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The Glories of Winter

From the Rock Island Argus, March 20, 1914. By Henry Howland.

I met him on the corner where I saw his breath congeal,
And he spoke from furs that covered him almost from head to heel;
“Ah, but this is lovely weather! Stirs a fellow’s blood, you know;
If I could I think I’d always have it ten degrees below;
Take a cold bath every morning, sleep out on the porch at night—
Nothing like it if you’re anxious to keep feelin’ fit and right.”

In the hovels people shivered, children who were lightly clad
Heard the frosted windows rattle and neglected to be glad;
Through the storm the doctors hurried, wearied from long lack of rest,
Many a weeping mother vainly clasped a dead babe to her breast;
Through the city Death went stalking, striking down the young and old,
And the gaunt cab horses shivered as they stood out in the cold.

I met her in a parlor, where she lolled in luxury;
“Ah,” she said, “this is the season that brings greatest joy to me;
How I love to hear the creaking of the wheels upon the snow;
What a joy there is in living when it’s ten degrees below!
Springtime brings its fragrant blossoms, but I feel supreme delight
When the wind blows from the northland and the world is clothed in white.”

By the curb an old man tumbled; at his side a shovel lay,
And his poor, thin coat was fluttered by the wind that howled away;
Pallid children crouched where sadness could not be induced to leave,
In the hovels women shivered and forgot all but to grieve;
Through the city Death went stalking, madly striking right and left
Where the little, gloomy coal bins of all contents were bereft.

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