This morning, early, I wakened

to a knocking at the pane”an apple bough,

fruit-laden, stirred by wind”

and rose to the morning’s clear gift.

Outdoors in sunlight, bending

to the kind of labor that gives back

more than it costs, I mowed the grass

and planted a sycamore that with luck

will rise above most things, outlast

all else I’ve set my hands to do.

Working this day to the nub, my own way,

I hoed the garden of its weeds,

the fragile order of an intention

added to what nature had to offer.

I took it. It was mine, though more

than most have reason to expect.

And now it is evening, late summer again,

light golden on the fields, a dark seam

of cloud above the mountain’s spine.

The sky does indeed resemble a dome.

From the hill behind the house

where my walk has brought me, outcroppings

of stone on the slope below glow white

against the pasture’s bottomless green,

outcroppings as we are of memory,

the daily bread of insult and affection.

Even here, away from others, an echo

of the evening news persists in mind,

some old tale of bad things that happen

to some who do, most who don’t

deserve them. And I give back to the air

that holds its peace an old question:

how to be in good fortune on a rare day

in late summer, just before fall begins.