I found a scrap of paper on which my mother, Ruth (Stewart) Voisin, wrote a poem. In December 1945, World War II had finally ended. Ruth was only 18 years old. She had just left home and moved to Philadelphia to enroll at the Franklin School of Science and Arts. This was against her father’s wishes, who said college was no place for women. Her mother had died two years prior. With no financial help from her father, she began her way in the world.
She always loved poetry and transcribed many famous poems in her notebooks. She also wrote her own poems. In this one, I can envision her sitting in her room at the YWCA looking out her window to the street below: A young woman on her own, and filled with a sense of peace and hopefulness about the future.
The First Snow
I’ve been in Philly since summer
And now that December is here
It brings the first snow to the city
And the Angel’s song to my ear.
I hear in the distance the clock
Chimming slowly the hour of seven
And I know that right now this minute
The earth is very close to heaven.
And peace surrounds my spirit.
And my heart knows things are right
When I hear on the street below
Young voices singing “Silent Night”
Then God looks down and smiles
And it reflects on all the trees
And the sound of all the traffic
Becomes a beautiful symphony
The world becomes silent—it listens
For the first time in years
The guns are still and respectful
And there are many grateful tears
That face this new found challenge
The one of lasting contentment and peace
Any may every day bring these things
And the wonder of Christmas never cease