Blessed is the Field

by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Kelly. Orchard. Blessed is the Field
In the late heat the snakeroot and goldenrod run high, White and gold, the steaming flowers, green and gold, The acid-bitten leaves….It is good to say first An invocation. Though the words do not always Seem to work. Still, one must try. Bow your head. Cross your arms. Say: Blessed is the day. And the one Who destroys the day. Blessed is the ring of fire In which we live….How bitter the burning leaves. How bitter and sweet. How bitter and sweet the sound Of the single gold and black insect repeating Its two lonely notes. The insect's song both magnifies The field and casts a shadow over it, the way A doorbell ringing through an abandoned house Makes the falling rooms, papered with lilies and roses And two-headed goats, seem larger and more ghostly. The high grasses spill their seed. It is hard to know The right way in or out. But here, you can have Which flower you like, though there are not many left, Lady's thumb in the gravel by the wood's fringe And on the shale spit beneath the black walnut that houses The crow, the peculiar cat's-paw, sweet, everlasting, Unbearably soft. Do not mind the crow's bark. He is fierce and solitary, but he will let us pass, Patron of the lost and broken-spirited. Behind him In the quarter ring of sumacs, flagged like circus tents, The deer I follow, and that even now are watching us, Sleep at night their restless sleep. I find their droppings In the morning. And here at my feet is the self-heal, Humblest of flowers, bloomless but still intact. I ate Some whole once and did not get well but it may strike Your fancy. The smell of burning rubber is from A rabbit carcass the dog dragged into the ravine. And the smell of lemon is the snakeroot I am crushing Between my thumb and forefinger….There could be Beneath this field an underground river full Of sweet liquid. A dowser might find it with his witching Wand and his prayers. Some prayers can move Even the stubborn dirt….Do you hear? The bird I have never seen is back. Each day at this time He takes up his ominous clucking, fretting like a baby, Lonely sweetling. It is hard to know the right way In or out. But look, the goldenrod is the color Of beaten skin. Say: Blessed are those who stand still In their confusion. Blessed is the field as it burns.