September Fires

Haulms burn
in distant fields.
Reluctantly the plumes of smoke
rise against a haze
of hills blue and clear
but featureless.

Our feet
crush the crinkled beech-leaves.
There is no other life than ours.
God is good to us this September evening
to give us a sun
and a world burning its dross.

Let us burn the twisted years
that have brought us to this meeting.
The crops are cull'd—
we can expect no other fruit
until another year
brings fire and fealty and the earth in barren stillness.
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