Robert Frost

The Onset

ALWAYS the same, when on a fated night At last the gathered snow lets down as white As may be in dark woods, and with a song It shall not make again all winter long Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground, I almost stumble looking up and round, As one who overtaken by the end Gives up his errand, and lets death descend Upon him where he is, with nothing done To evil, no important triumph won, More than if life had never been begun. Yet all the precedent is on my side: I know that winter death has never tried The earth but it has failed: the snow may heap In long storms an undrifted four feet deep As measured against maple, birch and oak, It cannot check the peeper’s silver croak; And I shall see the snow all go down hill In water of a slender April rill That flashes tail through last year’s withered brake And dead weeds, like a disappearing snake. Nothing will be left white but here a birch, And there a clump of houses with a church.