Split wood, blow life into woolen hands,
Stalk deer in the crackling dawn
Study overnight cottontail triad prints in the soft powder,
piecing together the scene.
Drink Lapsang Souchong on a stump in the vernal woods.
Wade swift trout streams with your straw-haired children.
Gather cattail pollen by bicycle, shaking seedheads into Tupperware,
Bake golden bread.
Sprout mung beans and lentils in glass jars on the windowsill.
Build a stanchion from scrap wood,
To milk your goats.
Pick beets and kohlrabi,
Steam and eat with butter.
Gather acorns from the white oak, boil out the tannins
Learn to carve wood like your grandfather.
Build wind turbines like your great-uncle did
In dust bowl Saskatchewan nineteen thirties,
Outta the rear axle of an old Ford van.
Learn the plants,
Gather mallows as Hesiod did, and lamb’s quarters,
Mint for headaches, wild ginger for the stomach,
Plantain and spotted touch-me-not for stings.
Clip fiery blossoms of staghorn sumac,
For sun tea, sweetened with honey from your hives.
Plant a Linden tree for the bees,
Learn the craft from Aristaeus,
Smoke from burnt sumac calms them.
Waft sunset clove cigarettes,
Reclining on porch steps.
Learn the language of birds,
Coverse with crickets in the dewy crepuscule.
Catch rainwater in beautiful glass vessels.
Scribble poems on rafters,
Read Milton by firelight,
Watching wax drip from the candelabra.
Shudder beneath Orion
And the inky black of January skies
To glimpse chimney smoke and the brilliance
Of undulating snowbanks refracting the moonlight.
Make noontime love in the summer grass
Backs of your knees sweating.
Take long hesperial walks along dusty roads,
Holding your wife’s slender hand.
Feed your chickens
Grains and crushed eggshells, like your grandmother said to.
Cut lilac sprigs for the kitchen table
Stain your teeth violet
With wild grape wine
And howl at the coyotes.
- DB (2004)