That time when there is yet nothing,
Her skills being at rest, synchronized
And sympathetic with soil's sleep --
Timid buds of lilac or jonquil still
Tucked within themselves -- she wonders
If she's even a subsistence woman, is
Mistaken in that as so much else, as when
Even deep snow cannot efface what
Winter erases when it is nearest spring.
Her hands stretch to packaged seeds;
Enter into bargains with their quietude.
Now? Now? Now? Now? she asks them,
Though she knows they will not move.
Here by a cold window she spreads
Envelopes on her table: peas, beets.
Radishes will be first, nearest the house.
Even now she smells them, lifted, bitten.
Is there nothing that can be done?
She asks for the hundredth time.
You'd think the mud would dry a little,
Evenings come later, mornings earlier,
The birds nest and sing, daisies open!
No. Tools rest in their ranks, sharpened,
Oiled. Clouds pass, low, lightless, sulking.
The arbor's done, fences, orchard,
Heaps heaped. All she needs today
Is that this blank month turn a little
Nearer sun, before her plot of earth
Grazes on forgetfulness too soon.