Winter 1988 • Vol. X No. 1 A PoemJanuary 1, 1988 |

The Snow’s Code

A cedar like a lancet window Down the snow-loaded aisles seemed A Black Forest icon. Hoffmann or Hans Christian Andersen. Trees feathered Softly swan-white on gray duck bark. Cold was cruel, seventeen degrees When I set out. I kept dreaming Through branches the Christmas scene On campus. Spires and roofs of Trinity Lifted their outline. Gold electric Lights from the great hall, sharpened By arches, cut into the night—Glowed a cold where our frost-breathsPraised Christ. These structures of stone And word are our imperial Burdens, skylines of Oxford-ideal Built past our ability to fulfill Them, fractious and self-interested As we are, though moved by Handel, The refectory's leaded panes, a star. Yet Jane Goodall's chimp that killed Its brother ape proves Cain Again in a different text. We would Be murderous still, only poorer, Without our words, our stones of grandeur.Retracing tracks toward home, I See holly and cedar dotted and Dashed with snow, the pagan coding Behind our Christi

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