Pale leaves cling fast to the wind-battered tree;
The autumn-craving flesh is deeply thrilled!
As dim as dreams, cloud-balked, the sun leaks through,
Spilling its feeble light upon the world.
The noise of cackling crows pierces the cold,
Presaging winter's nights of snow and ice:
November's stubborn flowers nipped and killed
By north-wind's stinging blast; skies gray as mice.
Some souls there are who watch for signs of grace,
Expecting love's fabled nativity
In a chilly and unfavorable place
Apparently unvisited by Him
Who makes all dying life rejoice anew:
Each human heart a cave in Bethlehem.