BLESSING X.

I am keeping silent,
spending the summer day
in solitude in the country.
Listening to the birds call,
I recognize only a few.
How have I lived so long
without learning to name them?

I touch a porch column
and am caught in a spiderís web.
Last night, in the porch light,
I watched one casting
such a vivid shadow
against the house I thought
I was seeing double.
I couldnít spot the web at night,
but I watched the dance that made it,
the spider flinging itself across space,
catching itself on a thread,
spinning out more,
its forelegs knitting rapidly
as it braced itself for the next leap.

At the top point of the barn roof,
the wasps have built a nest.
I watch them fly in and out.

**

I am thinking of Eleanor
who lived here twenty-eight years,
first with Mark, then without him.
When she was alive,
piano music issued from this house
for several hours every day,
louder in summer
when the windows were flung open,
but also in winter,
muffled by panes of glass,
sinking soft as lamplight
on the snow.

A house with music is a blessing.
For Eleanor, cursed by deafness,
music came to live inside her.
Through a great effort of will,
she listened with her fingers.
How she did it I do not know,
but I watched her succeed
at the end of her long, blessed life.
Her love of the art
and the instrument,
the pleasure she took
in its difficulty and mastery kept
her at it day after day.
She surrounded herself
with images of angels.
Her abiding wish
was to instruct by delight.