Old Roofs


Old roofs that only yesterday
Were dingy indiscriminate gray

With no appreciable design
And not one clean-cut slope or line

Now startle and delight the eye–
Clear white against the winter sky.

Their surfaces are all intact,
Their corners sharp, their lines exact

As if their purpose was to show
The plane geometry of snow.

They look like problems waiting proof–
Your roof, my roof, any old roof.


Robert Francis, Robert Francis: Collected Poems, 1936-1976, University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.