David Roderick


Birds graze the tassels,
sparrowing actually, or mocking,
their colors worth
nothing unless I pin
their wings
in the field.
Speaking of fields:
the Russians say
life is a walk across an open one
where mules are buried,
and men.
The soil remembers
a forest that marched right through.
In time-lapse.
In the filtered light
a camera peels from wheat.
I see soldiers’ hands, too,
grazing the tassels.
If you think you’re here
with me, feeling the field
on you, chained to it
like a peasant,
aging like good wine and cheese,
you are.
Having noticed the sparrows,
you notice the flies.
Having heard a bell,
you see some cows,
together on an upland slope.

David Roderick
“Pastoral” first appeared in The Southern Review, Volume 48, Issue 4.