January 13, 2013


by Ursula K. Le Guin

He planted the elms, the eucalyptus,
the little cypress, and watered them
in the long dusk of summer,
so that in the dry land
twilight was a sound of water. Years ago.
The amaryllis stick their stiff
trumpets still blowing blasts of bright pink
up through the wild oats,
unwatered, uncounted, undaunted.
        Do you see: there where his absence
stands by each tree waiting for nightfall,
where shadows are his being gone, there
where grey pines that no one planted
grow tall and die, and grain that no one sowed
whitens the August hills with wild ripeness,
and an old house stands empty,
the averted face of absence
turns. There silence returns answer. There
the years can go uncounted, seeing
evening rise like water through the leaves,
and as ever over the highest elm Vega
like a wild white poppy, opening.
       In the country of pain
truly there only rises
(a white star, a white flower,
an old standpipe running water
to the roots of trees
in a dry land)
the small spring of peace.