Approaching a Hill in November
I was tired
at the foot of the hill
past the brown grass dome
into the gray sky.
Where I stood the river
spoke and reached. I knelt
to drink, saw
under my wrists
the small fish,
blinking eyelids of light.
Standing again, I bent
with the shape of the hill
where no trees grew
and rocks leaned from pale grass.
It was then the hidden bird sang.
Like two grass spears rubbing,
its voice was more troubled than a raven's,
was like a knife parting the grass;
its voice was a red arrow breaking
like lightning over an abyss.
That music came into my body.
Touching the river again with one hand
and reaching with the other toward the dome of the hill,
I sang my own song of lament
for whatever kept us apart--
to the broken voice in the grass,
to the limited vision of fish,
to the season, the ashes of summer,
to the shadow that fell on my face.