for Robert Penn Warren
It shines in the garden,
in the white foliage of the chestnut tree,
in the brim of my father’s hat
as he walks on the gravel.
In the garden suspended in time
my mother sits in a redwood chair;
light fills the sky,
the folds of her dress,
the roses tangled beside her.
And when my father bends
to whisper in her ear,
when they rise to leave
and the swallows dip and dart
and the moon and stars
have drifted off together, it shines.
Even as you lean over this page,
late and alone, it shines; even now
in the moment before it disappears.
From THE LATE HOUR (Simon & Schuster 1978)