Charlottesville, 9:00 A.M.
For once, snow; its drapery everywhere
Like the pure wool of midnight,
The thoughtless swooning of a shawl.
On the porch outside my window
Six sparrows breakfast on seeds.
Their world gone white, their life
Suddenly monastic and severe.
No wind; yet their brown, terrestrial habits
Flutter and jump.
And one lone cardinal.
Their master, their lord of terrible aspect.
Descends to join them, alights
With a flourish and rises again.
Weightless as ashes, vivid as flame.