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Others' Fields


Some evenings a longing to see
how other men’s crops were faring
rose up in you and we were called
down from whichever trees
we were ascending to watch others'
fields flicker past fields
that never looked as good as ours
even if the corn was taller
the hay greener and nearly ready
to make again already and sometimes
the men who owned the fields
would be adrift in them
the tractors like ships in a sound
and I would be grateful for the fact
evenings rarely found you in ours
which we had left behind in order
that we might regard the fields
of others I know now the desire
to leave my poems and travel
through the shelves to study
what others have brought to harvest
have recognized the goodness
of their ground versus this patch
of dirt I’ve been scratching in
have stood reading the way
we would sit staring at a field of rye
and imagined what it might have been
like to write a poem by Merwin
then slipped the volume back
and returned to the land
I’ve inherited the only land
I have a chance of making matter
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