Lord, here I am again at the graveyard where I’ll be
buried, but for now where I rest before walking
back home. I like to lie with my back on the grass
and study the clouds, a Constable imposter,
or sit on my gravesite and look at this little village—
the cemetery, seven old houses facing south,
their western windows mirrors in the late light,
a small dam and waterfall that create a backyard lake,
and the little bridge over the outlet brook
that curves away to my right into the woods.
Yes, it’s all too easy, the day still to be enjoyed
as it won’t be when I’m steeping in my own juices.
It’s fall appropriately, summer’s green leaves following
their ordained paths to russet and gold. Lord, I don’t come
to reflect. Perhaps I should. Late sixties, and my life,
at least up to now, and since turning thirty, has been
on a lucky streak. I’d call it grace, especially the gift
of lasting love I’ve had, but that seems too presumptuous.
Forgive me, but sitting here is just another chance to look
at what I’ll be leaving behind. And if I’ve spent my life
trying to look at what I can’t see by looking at what I can,
I’ve never much focused on what’s to come, but only on
what’s here, a kind of daily gift and daily leave-taking
and, I hope, a kind of practice for my end.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.