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, 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.