The Crystal Palace: 1879 CEI will sit by the window, counting snowflakes. Old cushions lean, colourless, in corners -- like fog, like snowdrifts, like the careful, grey winter of an old woman's hair, upswept and orderly, smelling of powder. I will sit by the window, a cushion beneath my elbow, counting snowflakes. At the end of a century is a feeling of dying. The world ran all too smoothly, up the hill. The stone has come to rest, there is no more to conquer, no more hills, no visible mountains. Fin de siècle. With no further destination is the journey still not ended? The window asks nothing: the lawn shows a blank face, toothless. The snow settles like memory over hedgerows, and the blunted edges of the gardener's shears. We think too much on past things. I know old women, forever in black, who sit at the complacent sleep of afternoon tea, whose talk is slow, of Jubilee, and certainty. They have no husbands. Their hands do not hurry over endless petitpoint that fades like autumn, resting in corners, for the houses of their grandchildren. Let the sun, then, never set. The frost makes pictures over the window. Amidst foliage, trumpets are raised against the walls. And, yet, no prophet has come to speak. Even when the light has become too weak to work, old and orderly fingers tick the stitching out of habit. When the sun is gone, there will still be time. The night, no more than a sleeping, may be postponed. You cross the lawn, leaving behind a single line of prophecy. But, then, the snow is falling. The shears I had forgotten are in your hands Are you thinking of summer? My finger, drawn across the window, makes a mysterious image in the frost, which only the cold can heal, without scar. The gardener's scissors gleam as you clean them with the end of your scarf. The winter has lost you. Only I remain on the window cushions, brushing my hair, and counting snowflakes.