Scarlet Red Cardinal in the snow, tell me, what do you know?

Poetry Friday Tag

Keri is this week’s hostess at Keri Recommends


Our daughter’s students are are reading “The Crucible,” which reminds me of  “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

It’s the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I’m reminded of “The Scarlet Letter,”  the sight and sound of  ruby-red cardinals (which for this creative effort become scarlet red, don’t you know!) spark an audible inhaled “ahh!,” especially when the cardinals are framed against the snow, and putting all those juxtaposed things together, voila! Redemption poem. (With absolutely no apologies to Mr. Hawthorne!)

Redemption Jpeg



Scarlet Red Card’nal,
How apropos!
In this Great Year of Mercy,
You sit, gracefully branched, ‘gainst
fresh-fallen snow.

Scarlet Red Card’nal,
What do you know of scarlet red sins, scarlet red letter A, blood-stained Cross, and
pure white snow?
In this Great Year of Mercy,
Speak to me, please, of Isaiah 1:18 & John 3:16.
Sweet mercy hymn you sing! (Away with Hawthorne!)


FYC (for your convenience):

Isaiah 1:18: “…Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow…”

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

26 responses to “Scarlet Red Cardinal in the snow, tell me, what do you know?

  1. We don’t have cardinals in Colorado, but I grew up with them in Missouri, and miss them. Beautiful picture, and your poem has such a strong voice.

    • Thank you so very much, Linda, for taking time to read and to affirm. I understand how you would miss them. Every time I see one, I am very gratefully surprised by their beauty–their outstanding redness. Thank you again for your much appreciated feedback; your comments mean a great deal to me. FYI: I continue being fed by the prose and poetry hospice materials you kindly sent! God bless you.

  2. Oh, if only this cardinal could answer. I would sit and listen all day!

    “What do you know of scarlet red sins, scarlet red letter A, blood-stained Cross, and
    pure white snow?”

    I love the imagery and sound in this question.

    • If only the cardinal could answer…I’m with you! Thank you so very much for taking time to share your explicit feedback on imagery and sound. Your upbeat comments spur me on to explore writing more poems. God bless you! Many thanks!

  3. Colors are such powerful symbols! Beautiful!

    • Thank you so much for taking time to read the post. Your feedback spoken from artist-poet sensibilities is very gratifying. Thank you! (p.s. If you have a chance, please see how you inspired me in last week’s Christmas Morn poem.) God bless you!

  4. There wasn’t a lot of mercy in The Scarlet Letter, was there? Glad to see it taking its rightful place here.
    I have been filling (and re-filling) our bird feeder for our lovely scarlet cardinal and sweet chickadees, but the majority of it goes to the squirrels, drat it!

    • 🙂 Thank you for taking time to read and for endorsing the Scarlet Letter’s getting its just due. …Drat it is! Our bird feeders have suffered the same, sorry fate! No matter how squirrel-proof we think each feeder is–turns out it isn’t! …God bless you!

  5. Interesting entry into this poem that ties to the Year of Mercy. Serendipity moment: the Year of Mercy brochure is sitting on my desk. cb, do you want to offer this for the winter gallery or do you have another one? Please let me know via my gmail account.

    • Thank you for taking time to read the poem, and especially for judging it worthy of inclusion in your winter gallery–will respond to your gracious invitation via email. God bless you. Mercy it is!

  6. There’s something so magical and regal about a cardinal against snow…and the picture you’ve written conveys that well!

    • Thank you so very much for taking time to read the poem, and for sharing your positive feedback. On its own, there’s nothing like a cardinal, but seen against the snow–surreal and regal; you’ve said it all! God bless you, and thank you again so much for giving me yet another way to appreciate the photo!

  7. Lovely!

  8. Like Linda, I grew up in Colorado with no cardinals. I remember the first time I saw one in Ohio (and my first goldfinch) — I literally gasped aloud!

    • As many times as I’ve seen a cardinal (and, fortunately, I continue to see plenty) , my spontaneous reaction is always the same; like you, I gasp! …Thank you very much for taking time to read the poem and to share your appreciation of different kinds of amazing birds that we have been graced with seeing. (Truthfully, I’m not sure if I have noticed goldfinches, but if they behave anything like little hummingbirds, I gasp and can’t take my eyes off them, either!) God bless you! Thanks again!

  9. I love how you connect the natural and spiritual worlds, CB! Beautiful poem and photo.

    • Thank you so very much for taking time to read the poem and to share your much appreciated validating comment! As soon as I saw that photo, Isaiah and Hawthorne both came to mind. Interesting how nature can speak of spirit and flesh to us! God bless you! Your comment gives me more, with poet-and-photographer mind, eye, and heart to notice and to ponder. Thank you!

  10. I can tell you had fun with this, and it’s lovely! Lots of cardinals ’round these parts but seldom snow. Have you seen The Scarlet Letter-inspired movie EASY A? “Mercy” is a word I’d like to spend more time with. Thank you!

  11. Keri Collins Lewis

    Such an interesting combination of images, colors, and themes in your poem! Your spirited ending, “Away with Hawthorne!” has quite the ring to it! Thanks for stopping by to comment and wish me safe travels. I made it home and am now making my rounds to everyone’s blogs. It’s a lovely way to spend a Saturday!

  12. There is little that speaks to the season better than a scarlet red cardinal against fresh, fallen snow! We have plenty of cardinals here in FL, though tnot a whole lot of snow!

    • Thank you so very much for taking time to read the poem and to comment. Cardinals are literally awe-some; red on white: sorry you can’t enjoy the whole picture As always, your wit leaves me admiringly smiling! God bless you!

  13. Sweet mercy, indeed. Thanks for sharing. I love cardinals, too.

    • God bless you! Thank you so much for taking time to read and to share your affirming comments! Go, Cardinals! (And I literally mean the birds, though depending on which team wins in the semi-finals, I may mean it about football!)

  14. This is a gorgeous image – so powerful, the juxtaposition of the red cardinal against the snow. And your poem in response is lovely as well, thank you so much for sharing it. I remember really enjoying The Scarlet Letter when I read it while I was still in the university.

    • Thank you so very much for taking time to read the poem, and especially for taking time to share your affirming response and experiences. I really appreciate your enthusiasm toward the image! God bless you! (p.s. If you are in touch with Iphigene, please give her my ongoing best wishes).

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