The Keeping

The long bay sets its hand upon us
as the pale hens scatter
the scraps of last night’s dinner.
A collie circles the black-tailed tractor, watches
the smoke turn back
to open sky.
The farmer peels the skin
of hard clay, plunges ten seedlings
deep into dark matter.
The dog chases one more vulture
across the purple meadow,
just like we taught her to do.
And the thrush skips along the bramble
that the stone wall holds together,
knits the hawthorn, cypress and willow
like a needle, keeping the whole of this world