Anyone who loves grazing animals
Loves haystacks. In the white glare of midday
They cast humped shade on the glowing emerald
Of the fields, densities of time spent thatching this way
And that, combed like a giant’s shag, stacked by forkfuls
To the searing sky, straw flake dust
Shimmers gold in a cloud, grasshoppers whir, buzz, and unfold
pied wings as they
Leap into flight. One’s picked off in a mockingbird sweep.
I’m mesmerized by haystacks ~ leaned back
Under an oak
With a dipper of spring water. I let the coolness
Pour down my throat
As I swallow.
Some hay in a barn, once the work is done –
Sometimes men sprawl on it
And talk quietly. I remember.
The hay, we watch it grow. Spring it’s an
Enlivening of color barely emerging – soon long, full
Of water and soft, easy to bruise – too much of it
Isn’t good for cows to eat ~ they gorge and scour.
By summer the stems are long enough to
Wave when they bend, the breeze undulates them.
When it’s just in bloom, or nearly, that’s the time to cut it.
That’s right. The energy is at its peak just then – you watch
It close and if the weather’s good and your timing too,
The haystacks will be perfect. On a twinkling midsummer eve,
Shakespeare’s Bottom would rhapsodize on sweet hay like this, viewing the orange
Orb of the full moonshine rise in a sky of black tree shapes and aqua ~
Wouldn’t that be something?
Lovers may discover it ~ A gypsy lilypad floating in a meadow
of nocturnal fiddlers. Fingers linger on a zipper, the hay's perfume, and
nearby there’s even an owl, thrumming a steady soft round note.
Who doesn’t love this sort of haystack,
even if it feels itchy later, gazing into the infinity
of pinprickly stars in silence?
In the winter you walk by them, crusted with snow,
Just as twilight sets their straw aglow
And it reminds you of the tumbled hair.
And you go back, growing warmer as you go
Deeper into the evening. What I wouldn’t give to hold