The hard and spotted hands took hold of post
and rail to steady legs uncertain in
their age. The dimming eyes made narrow lines
to better see beyond the gray eclipse
of years. He looked toward the pasture where
his father used a team of chestnut draughts
to clear the trees and grazed the growing herd.
He looked toward the pasture where he gleaned
a life much sweeter than he could have dreamed.
Now wearied, worn from harvests he’d desired,
he thought he saw the season’s coming end.
He thought he saw what long he knew was next,
but feared no less for knowing: quiet, cold,
and winter, winter, endless winter dark.
He blinked away the sight and turned to go.
But there, in grass still glistening with dew
and washed with sunlight, stood a newborn calf,
so young it tottered when it tried to walk.
The moistened eyes drew wide to better see
beyond the gray eclipse of years. He thought
he saw another spring: it was the first
of springs; it was his father’s spring; it was
his early spring; it was a future spring.
The hard and spotted hands reached out to hold
the calf–warm, wet and trembling with life–
and steady legs uncertain in their youth.