The weeds have grown up around the stone fire ring;
morning glories twist filigree about the wrought iron table
and the lane is laid in gold with last year’s grass,
a few bold saplings, sticky burdock and the
soft fallen limbs of carefully inventoried trees.
The big oaks look good, the hemlocks by the creek
still seem sound, though the adelgids must be there.
A hard winter knocked them back, but not forever.
They’ll regroup, heedless of fairness or heartbreak,
growing and biding as buds swell and sap surges skyward,
The ash trees are going, their crowns tarnished brown,
bark peeling to show their scars–the emerald borers won.
Such small things to bring down such height and vitality,
Massing within, shadowed and secretive until the very end.
The paint is peeling on those old Adirondack chairs;
Vicki had me haul them back to town, to strip and paint;
it’s not right, to let them go, no one using them, she says.
The girls want to paint them “bright burning red.” We will.
They’re old enough I can tell them some of the good stories,
now and then, but not so old they don’t remember you.
We walked the farm with the map you made, but no one
knows what the symbols mean–there needs to be a legend.