In "The Cross of Snow", the author, Henry Wadsworth is remembering the memory of his dead wife Fanny Appelton. Henry is looking at a picture of her on the wall and remembering where and how she died. Wadsworth also talks about how her story will never be told and visualizes a place that reminds him of her. He discusses how things haven't changed since the 18 years of her death.
So why did he write a poem about his ex-wife? Henry and Fanny married in 1843 in Portland, Maine. He had been previously married to a woman by the name of Mary Potter in the years of 1831-1835, but she died during a miscarriage. Fanny and Henry had 3 daughters and 3 sons. Fanny however, died also after she was trying to melt wax to seal envelopes for her children's hair clippings, but wax managed to ignite her dress and burn her alive. Henry tried to save her by smothering her with a rug but only sustained third degree burns to his face. After her death Henry was very depressed and went into a mental block and could not write poetry. The Cross of Snow was an elegy about his wife to mourn her death and was one of the first poems he wrote after her death.