For Danny Hillis
What tiny shreds of chaff and leaves
Were bound by pilgrims into sheaves,
Making something we remember
From the vacant landscapes of November?
How many pregnant freckled grains
Are carried by the April rains
That through productive branches shower
The prom queen's white impassioned flower?
Who knows how such abandoned scrapings could
Unionize into a grown-up wood
Or how this scraggly potpourri
Could organize a single tree:
But listen while forgotten bark
Combines its forces in the dark,
Where roots and needles mess around
Until they metamorphose to ground.
Like forgotten movie stars,
They pool their talents in the bars.
The world succeeds in retrospect
Better than we might expect:
The more the leaden sky is glummer,
The more it works to make a summer;
The more the leaden sky is glum,
The more it works to make a sum.