fen and meadow, heath and glen

Soldier Meadows (photo by stephanie)

Soldier Meadows
(photo by stephanie)

(Adapted from the 14th-century Irish poem “Deirdre Remembers a Scottish Glen”.)

Heath of my body’s feeling:

crested spikelet of wavering wild rye,

heath of the prancing sinew-limbed pronghorn,

spry among the hirsute bees.

Aflutter with quail, curlew, and meadowlark,

And the wily coyote exultant on the twilit steppe.

Spilt-milk scrimcloth perforate  with myriads of stars,

heath of cinquefoil and paintbrush, and saffron-dusted primrose.

And spiders, industrious at their looms, pendent as dewdrops

on their silken weft.

Heath surveilled by sharp-eyed ravens,

budsage interposed with shadscale, greasewood, rabbitbrush,

spread meager between the swale and sloping range.

My heath of the crowding, pithy tule,

where dace would dart in the merciful shade.

To remember is a plangent note of bittersweetness, and light.


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