The Music of the Earth In walking home from church one winter's eve, I paused to hear the echoes down the street; The dead leaves rattled dryly on the branch And scraped along the sidewalk at my feet. But far beyond, another, sweeter sound Ran deeply, like a river through my heart, A sound that cannot ever be compared To music born of human skill and art. It echoed faintly in the evening wind, And in the cries of children down the lane: The mystic, minor music of the earth, So peaceful, yet so poignant in its strain. No other earthly blessing can compare, Nor words convey the joy I felt to hear The somber, searching voice of Father Earth Lamenting low the twilight of the year. A Winter's Day Behold the vale of seamless white! Its virgin beauty bathed in light, As dazzling as a diamond field, Stretched out its maiden charms to yield. Above, a cloudless sky of blue Ascends to ever-deepening hue; Its richness beckons me to pass In thought, as through a looking glass. High overhead, the Prince of Day Climbs up the heaven's steep gangway; His golden beams now cast a spell Of timelessness on all the dell. The pristine crispness of the day Awakes each sense along the way To hear, to feel, to smell, to taste Each detail of this wintry waste: The crunch of snow beneath my feet, The musty smell of rotting peat That mingles with the smokey trace Of ash from many a fire place, The numbness of my frozen toes, The warmth of wool against my nose, The dampening of my eyes with tears As icy winds bite cheeks and ears. Then, suddenly, I stand quite still And feel the penetrating chill Invade the marrow of my bones And touch my frame's foundation stones. Gripped by the cold, I briefly quake As creaking houses sometimes shake In winter, rattling pane and door— So tremble I, from roof to floor. How wonderful to be alive! Though all around me, earth and hive Lie dormant now till spring returns, Within my heart, a fire burns. The buzz of life within my veins Will not be still while youth remains, These puffs of breath, this pumping heart From lifeless things set me apart. The heat and vigor of my frame Stand out against the icy sameness Of the landscape all about; I must seize life, so thrust me out! Thrust me forth into the cold, For I am young and strong and bold, For all too soon, I too must sleep— Till spring arrives—in nature's keep. Martin Rizley grew up in Oklahoma and in Texas, and has served in pastoral ministry both in the United States and in Europe. He is currently serving as the pastor of a small evangelical church in the city of Málaga on the southern coast of Spain, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Martin has enjoyed writing and reading poetry as a hobby since his early youth.