The Loire Valley (Solstice 2015)

The uncoursed sun, a vulnerable
                                      evening’s chords                                                    
                                      of fallow field,

the mounded rows you think at first are graves,
which we traverse to reach
                                      the 1000-year-old
                                      fortified grange.

Somehow it missed the war though everything
                                      near the railroad’s
                                      gone to bits.
Nothing in this place to fix or modernize.
No one to claim it. Someone’s vision
                                      was to fill
                                      the vaulting barn

once a year with music around now.
                                      Silence opens wooden gates
                                      made from the primeval forest
cleared to farm. The pock-marked limestone walls
enclose a cluttered courtyard
                                      in the middle of which
                                      humans mill, perusing

cd’s, having drinks among the cattle stalls.
                                      Inside is Bach,
                                      and tonight an owl
whose contrapuntal hoots
you hear before you see him
                                      land high in the rafters just
                                      like your dream of flying.

At midnight, sun dipped down at last,
                                      the full moon
                                      floodlights the watch tower.
The gates closing, we’re cast out
to the carless field, nor other farmstead near
                                      to dim the sense of
                                      not belonging here.

Originally published in Crazyhorse. Copyright © 2016 by Cynthia Hogue. Used with the permission of the poet.