Friday, December 09, 2005


On the slope below a tall stone wall
an old woman in a black shawl
sickles long green grass
to clear a space
for her chickens to scratch.
The sickle blade flashes
with each stroke, drawing my eye.
Although the sky is dark
and hangs low, ready,
nearly brushing the
slate roofed bell tower
at the top of the hill
her chickens must eat
so she works deliberately
in the time she has.

I kneel
on the wide slate sill
of a window ledge already worn smooth
when Marco Polo was alive
where I had been reaching for catches
of wide wooden shutters
to ready them against rain
when the sickle's motion caught me.
I can see this scene replayed
again and again
in centuries since this town was begun
know it will be replayed
again and again
long after I'm gone.
The woman straightens a moment,
surveying her work, sees me,
nods and watches my returning wave
before stooping back
to ply the sickle again
and I feel good to know
that even though
I haven't had newspapers
television, intelligible radio
for weeks and have no inkling of
the forgotten world
beyond this town's ancient walls
I feel more kinship with that woman
as she continues to cut lush green grass
than with any unknown news
because even as that world changes
windows need to be shuttered
and chickens must eat.


Fingers said...

You should be a teacher of history

I can see your lectures
dotted with pepper, licorice and chicory.

coyote said...

And cardamom, coriander, cumin and cinnamon... but mostly pepper.

Fingers said...