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For my life was the heat of the sun, strain and sweat
of man and mule mingled in newground.
The grating plowpoint darted from root
to stump to rock, snapping singletrees
and tracechains mended in a woodlot
where hens with wilted wings bathed in the chips
and speckled guineas pottericked among
stacked chimneys of stovewood drying.
---Now sloe-eyed cattle are swishing flies
in black shade where you left saplings standing.
Bees pasturing honeysuckle are rising
and drifting down at the springdrain trickle.
Your life is a trellis I train verses up,
just as these roses climb the weathered porch.

from Dialogue With A Dead Man, 1974 ©

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