Having gleaned nothing from summer or fall,
the rotted fence and tree poke out of snowed fields;
when the arch wind skips past the evened farm,
she is the big winner. But what could a post
have learned from the gilded sights? Can a log
to be moved by a fine view, or can a dull poplar
tackle what was before it, and, aware, hold fast?
The beaten house can feel the active cursing
of a warped boot in its coatroom, bleeding mud
and water as they puddling melt, and feel the axe
dumbly brought indoors--a reminder of other heavy
tools-made-weapons, of back ache, heath, bird heads,
of pa's black summer tobacco, and the steeling
to survive Canadian cold. And outdoors the passive
stubs anchor the house and scolding, scalding snow.
When sweat fell before the leaves fell, the grains did,
and the fence forgot the stock's troll and pattern,
the sway, lit green, the thumbed leaf and hiding fort,
and later, the diesel fume and slow metallic graze.
Few remember the last September days, or care to--
the fence posts least, now wadded in snow, half broke
half protected, which winking feign some sense.
Tense is a circle; lance and lamb trade privileges,
but a year's field again in six months portends
grain--name a city that will fare the least better,
and I will trade this field for his clay and fired lot.
Strange alchemy to an urban tourist will return
orange and gold to the sullen patch, anticipated
by the twist of wind, the introverted farmers,
and the black loops of fence which make a dance.