We went for a walk to see
what winter had exacted
from our swimming place on the pond.
The moss was immoderately green,
and spongy underfoot; stepping on it seemed
a breach of etiquette.
We found our picnic table
sitting squarely in the bog—only
a minor prank. The slender birches watched us
leaning from the bank.
And where the river launches forth
from the south end of the pond
the water coursed high and clear
under the little bridge.
Huge, suspended in the surge, grandfather
turtle moved sporadically
one flat, prehistoric, clawed arm
at a time, keeping his head downstream.
Years ago he made a vow
not to be agitated by the runnels
of spring, the abundance of light,
warm wind smelling of rain,
or the peepers’ throstling. . . .
We watched till he was out of sight
and seemed illusory, then turned
toward home—the windows
brazen in the setting sun. . . .