A Unison

The grass is very green, my friend,
and tousled, like the head of ——
your grandson, yes? And the mountain,
the mountain we climbed
twenty years since for the last
time (I write this thinking
of you) is saw—horned as then
upon the sky’s edge ——an old barn
is peaked there also, fatefully,
against the sky. And there it is
and we can’t shift it or change
it or parse it or alter it
in any way. *Listen! Do you not hear
them? the singing?* There it is and
we’d better acknowledge it and
write it down, not otherwise.
Not twist the words to mean
what we should have said but to mean
——what cannot be escaped: the
mountain riding the afternoon as
it does, the grass matted green,
green underfoot and the air ——
rotten wood. *Hear! Hear them!
the Undying.* The hill slopes away,
then rises in the middleground,
you remember, with a grove of gnarled
maples centering the bare pasture,
sacred, surely ——for what reason?
I cannot say? Idyllic!
a shrine cinctured there by
the trees, a certainty of music!
a unison and a dance, joined
at this death’s festival: Something
of a shed snake’s skin, the beginning
goldenrod. Or, best, a white stone,
you have seen it: *Mathilda Maria
Fox* ——and near the ground’s lip,
all but undecipherable, *Aet Suae
Anno 9* ——still there, the grass
dripping of last night’s rain ——and
welcome! The thin air, the near,
clear brook water! ——and could not,
and died, unable; to escape
what the air and the wet grass ——
through which, tomorrow, bejeweled,
the great sun will rise ——the
unchanging mountains, forced on them ——
and they received, willingly!
Stones, stones of a difference
joing the ohters, at pace. *Hear!
Hear the unison of their voices. . . .*
Other works by William Carlos Williams ...