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ISSUE:  Autumn 1996

Tempo is time here and tempo is weather,
In due season, as it’s said in English, so when
I was stirred this earliest of mornings by the first
Storm in ten weeks, I knew the one day older I had
Gotten overnight had passed, that the weather
Changed dramatically into fall. I could
Sit down with my books for the scansion of
Season, or stick my head out the window, tell
By the contadini in the valley burning weeds right
Before the storm, and burning weeds right after
The storm, that all in this province shared this rain,
So heavy the leaves are wet eight hours later. Did
The god that is a bird change into the god that is a storm
Change into the god that is a war change into
The god that isn’t there change into the god that
Relentlessly watches the clock. Blow out the fuses,
Ye bolts of lightning, change bales of straw into
Bolts of gold cloth, spin the garments we can hide
Ourselves in for the short years. There was a time
When we saw someone in the road and said, “Hail
Fellow,” and they’d say back, “Hail Fellow, well met.”
This is what I heard. This is a flashback, a flashpoint.
I too should be burning mounds of weeds I’ve raked,
Watch the swallows swirl in the smoke. Time burns
The thickest wick, and not even this morning’s storm
Can blow it out. Not that it would want to—one
God can’t kill another so easily. It takes time, time
No one is willing to give, time no one is willing
To have, time no one is willing to keep.


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