Few leaves cling to the gust-whipt gale-stript tree;
Frail flesh, fall-flesh, thrills to a weather wild!
As dim as dreams, cloud-balked, the sun leaks through,
Spilling weak light on a world no longer mild.
The screech of a lone black crow pierces the cold,
Presaging winter's brunt 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, grace-parched, light-starved,
For love's long-prophesied nativity
In a stone-hard, bone-chilled place: a fear-wracked time:
Unvisited, it seems, unblessed, unmoved
By him who makes all dead life live anew:
Each human heart a cave in Bethlehem.