Hymn for Lughnasadh

Day ends and sunset arrives earlier,
and shades stretch out, encroaching on the east.
Queen Anne’s lace blooms, but daily lonelier
as wild blooms collapse, both large and least:
Now daisy and Indian pipe both melt;
trillium sports orange and yellow rot,
and lacework riddles skunk cabbage with holes.
Still woodlands echo with sweet phoebe’s lilt.
Damp, muddy stream-bed puddles behind clot
of dry oak leaves, where broken sticks form shoals.

Gray glacial boulder robed in ermine moss
priests and altars Sun’s shortening courses.
Black mica glitters within quartzite gloss;
Thunderstorms unleash electric horses
while red pines tremble and bow, fearing death.
At roots of maples, chokecherries glisten.
False Solomon’s seal shapes pearls in deep shade.
Forest prepares to release autumn breath.
Even beaver halts to look and listen
to each omen: for swift does summer fade.

In forgotten orchard, apples ruddy,
and pears respond with an envious hue.
Small brooks dry up, though still swamp keeps muddy.
Small egg sacs cling to witch hazel and yew:
some insects seek re-birth on forest floor,
and some desire life on new grown wing…
both certain that to live, means to prepare.
Yet you, O Sun, have seen all this before,
both ancient rhythms, and every new thing,
and you know to live, is to be aware.

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