Late Aubade

—Matthew Buckley Smith

i.m. Jane Pepperdene

 

When buried spring, in morning, wakes again

all winter’s dreamless night has let remain,

 

songbirds, returning north, will map in song

a heaven crows have haunted all year long;

 

the rabbits’ young will graze along a fence

furred with rough vines to slow the owl’s advance;

 

those buds curled damp against the dawn will glimpse

the automated snuffing of the lamps;

 

new-risen, naked day will spill its dew

while night grows parched and shadowy as you;

 

and on the hour the sundry church bells hallow

I will be pacing still this foreign hallway,

 

at home, where, though I speak, I can’t but hold

my tongue, where you now never will be called

 

back from choked roads, back from rivers sealed

with searing ice, back from the ashen field,

 

back from the ceaseless season of the dead,

where shadows till the dust their lovers shed.

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