Sestina For Winter - Poem by NORMAN ROSS
The city's trees are shriveled, bleak, and bare.
The matted clouds are gray with threatened snow.
The people scurry home in bristling cold
with finger-tips and toes like beaded ice.
One last ribbed leaf goes tumbling in the wind
which fiercely rattles every window glass,
as eager children, huddled to the glass,
peer into the streets now almost bare.
At last, in flurries, it has begun to snow,
and stragglers bundle up against the cold,
(which turns the first few early flakes to ice) ,
their bodies bent to spear the startling wind.
Frost-fettered branches snapping in the wind
rattle to the street and crack like glass;
And now the frost-packed earth is quick to bare
the swift but silent cataracts of snow
and piercing sleet—and still, so pinching cold,
the river stands amazed and turns to ice.
Thin saplings in the park are cased in ice
and quiver numbly in the aching wind,
much like slim sticks of polished glass
or giant icicles. Stark and lean, they bare
their crystal branches to the glacial snow
and stand imprisoned in the chill, hibernal cold,
naked and lonely. While the parching cold
transforms the wandering rills to paths of ice,
a squirrel trembles in the chattering wind,
treading nimbly on the brooks of glass;
His autumn hollow echoes, being bare
of acorns, or else is blanketed with snow.
How beautifully the earth is banked with snow
and soft white drifts. The world is marble cold
and static—sculptured crystalline in ice—
willing subject for the keen-bladed wind
that burrs and burnishes the lakes, like glass
or iridescent prisms glazed and bare.
Look now! How bare the sky is all of snow,
Though still it's cold; and skaters on the ice
Ignore the wind and skim along the glass.
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