A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
From a house in L’Aguiole, France,
built in 1911 by a farmer, later a
decorated sapeur-pompier in the Great War
Casement swung wide to receive the full
moon and temperate air, I hang at the sill
to see a roil of silver fog that slurs
across the fields where by day the honey-
colored cattle graze beside a distant
stand of oaks, now all reduced to grays.
Across the field, three silhouettes range
as if three sisters rushed from evening chores
to the old stone farmhouse their father built,
their hands holding their long skirts high,
their feet already lost in fog, one close,
one far, one in between, coming in a rush.
But the mist expands, rising to erase the furthest
shape and gray the second, the gray growing,
blanching, the further form losing edge.
What remains is a hint of two shapes, only;
then just one, the closest, and it, too, fading
as mist stirs and churns, steadily advancing.
I’m afraid I’ll lose the closest tree, as if
all history, all self might vanish with it.
I’ve spent so many days alone in this place,
silence overtaking sense. But the fog
shifts, slowly recedes. The second grays
then blackens; the third returns; and finally
the stand of oaks that lines the field’s rim,
until all seems as before: moon in a clear
sky, field of mist, three pines ranging forward,
(pines the farmer planted before he enlisted),
and the frame he planed and placed for this view, to which
he came, unbearably changed, after his war.
Copyright 2017 Sandy Solomon