IN WHICH THE SKY CONSPIRES

Today I saw the snow begin,
A thin, utilitarian,
      Almost accidental
      Speck, a syllable
Of sleet, a conscious
Parody of Christmas,
      One flake falling straight
      To meet its flattened fate,
Nature’s inexorable lawyer
Rushing through the forest foyer,
      All that grim efficiency
      To trim a needle on a tree;
But imperceptibly the flow
Of microscopic bits of snow,
      Slowly drifting, hard to see,
      Imposes meteorology
On the formerly autumnal hill
Outside our frosted window sill,
      Like a paintbrush, dabbing light
      Until the yellow leaves turn white,
Adding fuel to the fire
To which all forms of rain aspire:
      That so much frozen air would rush
      To provoke this sudden flurried hush
Is confirmation that the sky
Can focus on a patch of rye
      And roll out winter’s windrow thresher
      (Disguised as barometric pressure)
And harvest all the fields that grow
From a single piece of snow.