No two hexagonals alike—
look until Doomsday, frost-bitten
fingers pawing the diffident
crystals for the one exception.
No three-leaf clovers here, no X-
ray coaxes a snowflake’s secret;
all the answers are a little
evasive, like places of pi.
Even W.A. Bentley
who pursued “and still pursues” this
search, snow after snowfall fifty
odd winters in
glued to photomicroscope, knows
only this: the specialist does
not admit defeat. The mutual
fund of wonder and bewilder-
ment increases when none can say
why flakes should be miraculous—
sheepishly symmetrical but
each one secretly chimaerical.
Whose order closed the pit
that gaped wide yesterday?
And can they not fall in it yet
whose feet are led astray?
Then who put out hell’s fire?
or has it ceased to burn?
Can you not smell the brimstone here,
not hear the loud alarm?
Those who stand convicted,
raked by eternal flame…
If all of these can be evicted,
where then shall we call home?
Wandering up yonder,
what else is there to do
but stand in the road and wonder
if heav’n be empty too?
Martin, Walter. “Poems.” The New Compass: A Critical Review 2 (December 2003) <http://www.thenewcompass.ca/dec2003/martin.html>