Muted Song

Darkening days of the year
Before the solstice, Advent
In the ripped grove’s detritus.
Wind from the Urals, cruel.
One last campanula’s mauve
Bravely, silently peals,
Gazania, dipping, flaunts
Flame petals, African, still.
Under stripped apple-trees
Ungathered fruit, the yellow,
Russet or crimson, lies,
Dole to the songbirds, deer.
It’s nightfalls only let
A half-remembered light
Dapple cloud-leaded skies,
The star in hiding glitter.
Chilled the roof fibres raise
To buds their sustenance
And numb limbs dance
To rhythms that absence beats.
A nearly deaf man sings
Come, that we waiters praise
Who serve expectancy,
The always never-yet.

from Wild and Wounded (Anvil Press Poetry, 2004), copyright © Michael Hamburger 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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