Before The Snow

By Peter Halstead

In the woods before the snow,
Distant clouds begin to grow

So that the tallest pines
Vanish into vapor lines,

Blackened aspens floating by
Disappearing in the sky.

And the darkened branches lower
Behind the slowly sifting flour,

The sugar of the first slight fall
Congealed into an icing wall

Where fists of frozen sprinkles clump,
Granules bleach and powders slump,

As cut-out spikes and pinwheels make
The woods resemble one large flake,

Circus wands with cotton stars
Glued to weightless masts and spars,

Where prisms, clusters, dendrites, plates
Mate as grainy heaven sublimates,

And around our blanketed chalet,
Like the tree in the ballet,

The bushes shoot up out of hand
(Or maybe just our eyes expand):

The more the crumbled death star sinks,
The more the minced horizon shrinks,

The closer that the skies surround us,
The more that ground-up space has found us

And sent this resuscitating storm
To reassure us with a cosmic norm.

Tippet Alley
March 10th, 2001

Rue de Varenne
September 19th, 2004
March 31st and May 24th, 2005

September 29th, 2005