Frost Smoke

By Peter Halstead

The world was tricked today by sun,
Broken up by needles in the ice,
Fragments of the universal light
Flaming from a corner of the trunk,

A footprint in the dusted snow
Turned by frost to frozen chrome,
The wood a planetarium
Lit on every leaf with tremolos

Of solar wind, the mirrored sequins
That the watchful human eye
Turns into entire galaxies,
An evolutionary sequence

From a star to ice to us,
Where now it melts the hard-won
Glaze the ground depends on,
Not to warm the summer dust,

But to keep it cold for just
Such tricks of time as these,
When the gilt of cosmic rust
Coaxes errors from the trees.

February 9th, 1987