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Pastoral


Birds graze the tassels,
           sparrowing actually, or mocking,
their colors worth
           nothing unless I pin
           their wings
                       in the field.
Speaking of field:
           the Russians say
           life is a walk across an open one
where mules are buried,
           and men.
           The soil remembers
a forest that marched right through.
In time-lapse.
           In the filtered light
           a camera peels from wheat.
I see soldiers' hands, too,
           grazing the tassels.
If you think you're here
           with me, feeling the field
on you, chained to it
           like a peasant,
           aging like good wine and cheese,
                       you are.
Having noticed the sparrows,
           you notice the flies.
Having heard a bell,
           you see some cows,
           together on an upland slope.


David Roderick

The Southern Review

Autumn 2011


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