In between low granite walls
Two workmen stand in snow,
Watching as the steel rod falls
To pound the earth below.
Some distance from their younger years,
I pause in my descent;
The pounding sound pricks up my ears
And echoes some lament.
Further by the frozen stream
Woodpeckers tap their tone;
In winter stillness, cold extreme,
Ice floes crack and groan.
In the distance whistling sounds
Break through this winter day;
The noontime ironhorse resounds
And bleats a hollow neigh.
Down among the bittersweet
Descending in a rush,
Bluebirds peck the russet meat
And flit among the brush.
Small warm-breasted fires burn,
Reminding me in winter’s chill —
Though every creature waits his turn —
I move among the living still.