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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.

Eric Trethewey