For Sarah Innes Blos, in memory of Stephen
With the Dog at Sunrise
Although we always come this way
I never noticed before that the poplars
growing along the ravine
shine pink in the light of a winter dawn.
What am I going to say
in my letter to Sarah- -a widow at thirty-one,
alone in the violence
of her grief, sleepless , in doubt
about the goodness of life,
and utterly cast down?
I look at the lithe trees more carefully
remembering Stephen the photographer.
With the hunger of two I take them in.
Perhaps I can t e 11 her that.
The dog furrows his brow while pissing long
and thoughtfully against an ancient hemlock.
The snow turns the saffron of a monk's robe
and acrid steam ascends.
Looking for God is the first thing and the last,
but in between so much trouble, so much pain.
Far up in the woods where no one goes
deer take their ease under the great
pines, nose to steaming nose ....