I met this young lady and her dad in the grocery store and was happy they agreed she would model for me. I had this idea to pose her barefoot in snow in a light white dress. The problem was, I didn't have the dress. I scoured the internet for something just right and was frustrated. The photo shoot was already scheduled. The day before I found exactly what I was looking for in a Goodwill store. I posed her on the back patio and then subbed in the snowy background.

As I began to paint her, a phrase came to mind. "I dreamt I walked in a snowy wood." This would help make sense of why she would be dress this way in the snow. That phrase sounded to me like the first line of a poem. And then a second line came, and a third. I liked where this was going so I set down the brushes and picked up the only thing I had at hand to write on- the back of a large envelope. Words fell into place very quickly and a story emerged that enhanced the painting. in my opinion. So here it is and if you take the time to read it, I hope you enjoy it. 

I Dreamt I Walked in a Snowy Wood

by Craig Pursley

I dreamt I walked in a snowy wood

with face turned down ’neath a furry hood

and as I walked , my breath in clouds

hung loose about, a veiled shroud


I’d gone far enough and turned to go

back toward home and fire’s glow

But then I heard a distant sound

that stopped me fast on frozen ground


A young girl’s voice serene and sweet

a siren’s call for tired feet

I followed sound not knowing time

through maple, birch and sugar pine


Trees bent low in a clearing wide

and far across the other side

this young girl stood still lost in song

which drew me near and all along

I thought aloud, "Can she be real?"

or just a vision thus revealed

Was she real or fevered dream

my mind unsure or so it seemed


Her eyes aside in distant stare

as breezes tossed her raven hair

Perhaps a girl of fifteen years

with face devoid of hope or fear


From her lips no vapor flowed

and yet her lovely face just glowed

Her lacy dress as white as snow

and tied about her waist, a bow




In ice and snow her feet were bare

and yet she didn’t seem to care

She felt no cold, no stirring breeze

no chill amidst the winter freeze


Her gentle face so soft and sweet,

lost in reverie complete

Of my approach she seemed unaware

or if she was, seemed not to care


The song she sang was so surreal

in painful words that somehow healed

My life laid bare and there revealed

The things I’d done and thought concealed


The rights, the wrongs, all things I’d done

the good, the bad to everyone

I began to feel that I should go

retrace the steps I’d laid in snow


I felt her warmth and yet I knew

I must go home and live renewed

But as I turned, she looked at me

into my heart she seemed to see

Her shoulders sagged, her eyes grew sad

I questioned why she felt so bad

She whispered in a voice that cracked

“I’m sorry, sir. You can’t go back.”



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