The Face in the Field

T
The meadow yielded thirteen bales an acre.
“Was that a record?” I asked one of the experts.
“It must have been a record. When was the last time
you manured that meadow? Eighteen eighty-one?”
Yet it is beautiful, whether mowed or not,
After its saddest harvest, stubble bristled
sparsely, yet the stalks stood up like Christians.
Now that the second crop is coming in,
it bends to the wind as if a hand had stroked it.
Here there's a patch of purple-colored fescue
that glistens metallic at the heart of summer;
there, dogbane creeps in on the heels of the mowing
to hold its tiny white blossoms as a girl does,
stooping to drink, clutching beads to her breast
to keep them from getting wet in the fountain.

High to the south where maps mark The Great Ledge
is where my father's ashes tumbled down.
Ten years after them, his widow's followed.
Low to the north, gazing up at the Ledge,
another outcrop from the field, a ledge
of pink-and-green-flecked granite, with a pinch
of silver sprinkled over its harsh surface,
speaks the word JANE for her who has become
familiar of the place, but was once its mistress.

How difficult to keep her face in mind
as part of a living body! The body lives on,
sometimes remembered in my arms and fingers,
but the face that spoke to me with eyes and throat
resists replacement, Yet it will live on,
a vagueness in the grass, a ghost among trees.
I have stared out a thousand times across
the field, hoping to see what she
rested her eyes upon while she was dying,
but I can see nothing there beyond the leave,.
They were happy enough to speak to me before,
whatever it is that leaves and tree, will speak of,
but how can they now so wholly have possessed
the country that she took the time to die in?
Perhaps it's just as well. Remembered things
should not survive by long the death of the body.
See? Every year the grass renews itself
with shoots and leaves and, ultimately, flowers.
57
Rating:

Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

Madeleine in Church by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
Read Poem
0
94
Rating:

The Double Image by Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton
1.

I am thirty this November.
You are still small, in your fourth year.
We stand watching the yellow leaves go queer,
flapping in the winter rain,
falling flat and washed. And I remember
mostly the three autumns you did not live here.
They said I’d never get you back again.
Read Poem
0
76
Rating:

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
‘Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:Σίβυλλα τίθέλεις; respondebat illa:άποθανεîνθέλω.’ For Ezra Pound
il miglior fabbro. I. The Burial of the Dead
Read Poem
0
93
Rating:

from Each in a Place Apart by James McMichael
James McMichael
I know I’ll lose her.
One of us will decide. Linda will say she can’t
do this anymore or I’ll say I can’t. Confused
only about how long to stay, we’ll meet and close it up.
She won’t let me hold her. I won’t care that my
eyes still work, that I can lift myself past staring.
Nothing from her will reach me after that.
I’ll drive back to them, their low white T-shaped house
Read Poem
0
88
Rating:

Falling by James L. Dickey
James L. Dickey
A 29-year-old stewardess fell ... to her
death tonight when she was swept
through an emergency door that sud-
denly sprang open ... The body ...
was found ... three hours after the
accident.
—New York Times
Read Poem
0
64
Rating:

Hymn to Life by James Schuyler
James Schuyler
The wind rests its cheek upon the ground and feels the cool damp
And lifts its head with twigs and small dead blades of grass
Pressed into it as you might at the beach rise up and brush away
The sand. The day is cool and says, “I’m just staying overnight.”
The world is filled with music, and in between the music, silence
And varying the silence all sorts of sounds, natural and man made:
There goes a plane, some cars, geese that honk and, not here, but
Not so far away, a scream so rending that to hear it is to be
Read Poem
0
114
Rating:

A Vision of Poesy by Henry Timrod
Henry Timrod
PART I

I
In a far country, and a distant age,
Ere sprites and fays had bade farewell to earth,
A boy was born of humble parentage;
The stars that shone upon his lonely birth
Did seem to promise sovereignty and fame—
Yet no tradition hath preserved his name.

II
’T is said that on the night when he was born,
A beauteous shape swept slowly through the room;
Its eyes broke on the infant like a morn,
And his cheek brightened like a rose in bloom;
Read Poem
0
92
Rating:

Andrea del Sarto by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
But do not let us quarrel any more,
No, my Lucrezia; bear with me for once:
Sit down and all shall happen as you wish.
You turn your face, but does it bring your heart?
I'll work then for your friend's friend, never fear,
Treat his own subject after his own way,
Fix his own time, accept too his own price,
And shut the money into this small hand
When next it takes mine. Will it? tenderly?
Oh, I'll content him,—but to-morrow, Love!
I often am much wearier than you think,
This evening more than usual, and it seems
As if—forgive now—should you let me sit
Here by the window with your hand in mine
And look a half-hour forth on Fiesole,
Read Poem
0
122
Rating:

Fox Sleep by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
On a road through the mountains with a friend many years ago
I came to a curve on a slope where a clear stream
flowed down flashing across dark rocks through its own
echoes that could neither be caught nor forgotten
it was the turning of autumn and already
the mornings were cold with ragged clouds in the hollows
long after sunrise but the pasture sagging like a roof
the glassy water and flickering yellow leaves
Read Poem
0
78
Rating: