She works the garden shadows,
Long dress swaying over tilled earth ,
Hoe on loose rock issuing white noise
As the evening bees home to the hive,
As broad-winged hawk spirals higher

For the last valley sun
And silence takes the redstart’s willow.
We too had come back to the land.
Others we had known are gone: those
Who came from cities hearing buried

Voices, who mistook the innocent snake
For primal serpent, who mistook the pine’s
Whispered phrases for a muteness of earth
And who in dreams mistook the walk of
Old ways for the totterings of death.

A chosen solitude, a spirit of the earth
in heart, resides not only in the past.
Then as now, she stops there in her work,
Her back unbending with a memory,
The fullness of a moment rippling far.