30 June 2011

Even at the Close of the Year

Even at the close of the year
the sun beat down, fighting

back cold bones. The girls
were playing on the north-side
of the lake when it crept in,
feeling good at first. Before long,
branches soon broke under their icy burden,
pre-shaping what spring would be:
heavy wheat fields overgrown with tares,
the ground never giving
the plow-blade its turn.

In June, more than our tools nearly broke
when the weed pressed against the grain—
fearful of the thresh and imminent fire.
We could only wait for the wheat to hold
(my reluctant conviction).

But the poor neighbors'
stubborn hands
took to action,
ripping the unwanted tares by the root,
confusing wheat for that bitter weed;
damaged irreparably, it suffered
the same fate.

By the beginning of Advent
at the close of that next year,
the lake,
drove the girls to dolls and tea indoors,
while I faced the empty farm, leaning,
arms crossed, hollow on my porch.


Brian McLain said...

very nice! it's got an earthy Wendell Berry vibe - which is always a good thing in my book.

Chris Donato said...

Thanks for reading and breaking the silence, Brian. I do think my first draft of this (some 6 years ago) came after a healthy dose of Wendell's Timbered Choir.

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