After the Harvest

by Philip Quinlan

After the harvest and commotion,
after the shaking of the day:
a room lamp-litten by the spill-fire,
late summer thunder coming.

After the days of calculation,
timing the cutting to the flood:
unreckoned love, endurance
in light of lesser longing;

the waste haulmed up, ignited,
interred, the plough infolding.

After the garnering of sorrow
in all the years considered good,
after the calving and departing,
fall has another meaning:

the wheel no longer turning
at the well, no water-giving.
After the harvest, nothing:
the heart no longer haling.

Last fires of the year and ever
lit now the light is failing,

and, after all, ingathered.


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