after Valéry

Out of the stillness on the hill, wild grass
grows up, knee high, obscuring the old graves.
Below is constant movement, even on calm days,
the glassy inlet stirred by the morning moon.

Postdated lives of neighbors and of strangers
are simultaneously carved and washed away,
attracting a yearly visit or none not at all,
as wild verdure reclaims the clayey earth.

At the height of the season, record highs
and grass burned off under a sapphire sky:
we’ve no idea what the coming year
decides for those of us watching the scene.

A sloop unfurls its kite before the wind,
across an ebbing tide and held in time,
its course a mystery to the casual glance,
as hour by hour it makes its way toward shore.

How many million years have brought this water,
the cycle of its churning old as air—
evaporation, rain, or lack of rain?
The midden horde of molecules receives

another one of carbon, phosphorus
or calcium. In the afterlife of earth,
these monuments bow lower with the years.
A freshening breeze in the trees makes a show

of ecstasy. Their banners tilt at victory,
general ovations for an absent brigadier.
Late summer fish return from deeper shelves.
Above the still plots ringed with blueberries,

an inchworm dangles on a tensile string
rising and falling, rising, blowing wide,
bound invisibly to a scraggly pine,
audacious astronaut, uncharted space,