The Snowflake Which Is Now and Hence Forever
Will it last? he says.
Is it a masterpiece?
Will generation after generation
Turn with reverence to the page?
Birdseye scholar of the frozen fish,
What would he make of the sole, clean, clear
Leap of the salmon that has disappeared?
To be, yes! — whether they like it or not!
But not last when leap and water are forgotten,
A plank of standard pinkness in the dish.
They also live
Who swerve and vanish in the river.
Archibald MacLeish, from Collected Poems 1917–1982, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985.