The wind off the Blue Ridge
reached his hands into every pocket,
waved the shining trees' bare limbs.
Somehow the starlings rose above
the hills, the flocking weaving a shawl
that warped in the wind.
The cows walked two-by-two
toward the south pasture, the herd heading
for the sheltered place below the hill's crest.
Daddy said, "Can't you do a damn thing right?
Say!" I ran to close a gate,
but more than his words, I feared
his silence. My head ached between
the eyes, and, walking to the house, I thought
Lord, save us from the cold. . .
But, facing the old god, I felt hope
snuffed out, as if my every prayer
were a paper match in the wind.
--John Thomas York