Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mason-Dixon Lines

-- Justin Booth

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Early Morning, New Hampshire

Near Wolfeboro,
near the vast, sparkling lake,
deep in the woods,
I swing

my legs over
the old wall and sit
on the iron-cold
stones. The wall

is longer
than any living thing, and quieter
than anything
that breathes, as we

understand breathing. It turns,
it cuts back, it approaches again.
It knows
all the angles.

raised it
stone by stone, each lagging weight
pulling the shoulders.

meant to sheet these green hills
with domesticity,
and did, for a while.

But not anymore.
And now the unmaking
has, naturally, begun.
Stones fall--

tilt and fall--
but slowly--
only a few a year--
into the leaves, or roll

down into the creeks, or into
the sappy knees
of the pines.
The birds

sing their endless
small alphabets.
a porcupine

hauls itself up and over--
or a deer
makes light of all of it,
leaping and leaping.

But mostly
nothing seems to be happening--
borders and divisions,
old sheep-holders,

the stones just sit there,
mute and tight, and wait
for the instant, gray and wild.
This morning

something slips,
and I see it all--the yearning,
then the blunt and paunchy flight,
then the sweet, dark falling.

-- Mary Oliver