A frog leaps out across the lawn,
And crouches there—all heavy and alone,
And like a blossom, pale and over-blown,
Once more the moon turns dim against the dawn.
Crawling across the straggling panoply
Of little roses, only half in bloom,
It strides within that beamed and lofty room
Where an ebon stallion looms upon the hay.
The stillness moves, and seems to grow immense,
A shuddering dog starts, dragging at its chain,
Thin, dusty rats slink down within the grain,
And in the vale the first far bells commence.
Here in the dawn, with mournful doomèd eyes
A cow uprises, moving out to bear
A soft-lipped calf with swarthy birth-swirled hair,
And wide wet mouth, and droll uncertainties.
The grey fowls fight for places in the sun,
The mushrooms flare, and pass like painted fans:
All the world is patient in its plans—
The seasons move forever, one on one.
Small birds lie sprawling vaguely in the heat,
And wanly pluck at shadows on their breasts,
And where the heavy grape-vine leans and rests,
White butterflies lift up their furry feet.
The wheat grows querulous with unseen cats;
A fox strides out in anger through the corn,
Bidding each acre wake and rise to mourn
Beneath its sharps and through its throaty flats.
And so it is, and will be year on year,
Time in and out of date, and still on time
A billion grapes plunge bleeding into wine
And bursting, fall like music on the ear.
The snail that marks the girth of night with slime,
The lonely adder hissing in the fern,
The lizard with its ochre eyes aburn—
Each is before, and each behind its time.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 20, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.