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  • By Jeffrey Essmann

The Snowdrop

One winter day I wandered

Alone inside a park

With thoughts of how I’d squandered The light in me for dark

In wayward years gone by.

And though that time’s behind me,

It still can draw a sigh.

Still brooding, I considered

The world and all its pain;

How hope by hope it’s withered

Till little else remains

Beyond its empty greed.

We sense in us a mourning

Whose tears we can’t concede.

And then, though nearly hidden

A snowdrop caught my eye,

So sweet and so unbidden

As there it beautified

Its dirtied patch of snow.

It claimed a tiny victory

Whose terms I still don’t know.

Jeffrey Essman's poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, print and online, among them Dappled Things, America Magazine, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Pensive, the Society of Classical Poets, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery where he serves as an oblate. He is also editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.


Feb 23

The tiny victories mean so much, Jeffrey. If we can accrue enough of them, they will in time outshine everything. I have found this to be the case - especially with my poems, and getting them out there, and seeing them slowly add up to something substantial. Perhaps my poems, like yours, are snowdrops in a dark world.

Good luck with all the tiny victories! And thank you for 'The Snowdrop', and all the unexpected light it carries with it.


Feb 23

This is an excellent reflective poem, and perfectly captures the idea of poetic metaphor: the snowdrop reflecting the inner feelings of the poetic voice and ending an otherwise rather bleak poem on a note of hope -- yet a hope that's ambiguous because it's poorly understood. I think the ambivalence of both the despondence and the hope capture the human state as it actually is, and therefore make this poem relatable to every reader who reflects upon their life.

Feb 25
Replying to

These are fine comments on a fine poem. Well said, Adam.


Feb 22

These exact feelings have assailed me periodically, but I could never express them this perfectly. Perhaps I should look for the tiny victories.

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