Before the biting arctic wind
autumn's last leaf helplessly clings.
Other leaves, less tenacious
lie wet and matted
beneath the season's first snowfall.
Nothing shows of summer's pointillistic canvas
save the occasional fir tree and bramble.
Winter's pen and ink simplicity waxes gray and white
to show the landscape's ebb and flow
in chiaroscuro light.
In the cold of winter the luckless suffer
the impatient perish,
yet here and there
the tracks of bird and rabbit
show how life goes on.
If autumn's last leaf were to weather wind and ice
and snow and feel again the tepid balm of April-spring,
it would surely come to naught
for nothing dead can cling
before the swelling of a tender bud.