The first flakes shiver downward from a dim
fluorescent sky, the gray walls of November
now softened with these flecks of feather trim.
They cannot last. The curbs and stones remember
too many sun times, too much Indian summer,
to yield at once. Flakes settle, melt and soak;
they perish in their myriads beyond number,
with slight exception: fallen leaves of oak,
already frozen, curl to lifeboat shape
and carry heaping tablespoons of snow,
the pardoned few that briefly will escape
the fate of snowflakes, stars, and all we know.
How brief our stay, how slack our boat is moored,
yet how we strive and clutch to stay aboard!