In that darkness there could be no hope—
Not merely light withdrawn but light refused.
The ashen trees had dropped, not lost, their leaves,
That green a smothering burden they abhorred.
The people in that place were all too old,
The children most of all, who wore their youth
As if it were a costume to be shed.
The willow was counted wisest of the trees.
There were no separate clouds. The sky was gray.
Nothing and no one waited for anything,
But all attention leaned back toward the past.
The wind, when it spoke at all, said simply, “Once.”