At Harvest

Painting by Mijo Kovacic (1954)

Earth travails,
Like a woman come to her time.

The swaying corn-haulms
In the heavy places of the field
Cry to be gathered.
Apples redden, and drop from their rods.
Out of their sheath of prickly leaves
The marrows creep, fat and white.
The blue pallor of ripeness
Comes on the fruit of the vine-branch.

Fecund and still fecund
After æons of bearing:
Not old, not dry, not wearied out;
But fresh as when the unseen Right Hand
First moved on Brí,
And the candle of day was set,
And dew fell from the stars’ feet,
And cloths of greenness covered thee.

Let me kiss thy breasts:
I am thy son and lover.

Womb-fellow am I of the sunburnt oat,
Friendly gossip of the mearings;
Womb-fellow of the dark and sweet-scented apple;
Womb-fellow of the gourd and of the grape:
Like begotten, like born.

And yet without a lover’s knowledge
Of thy secrets
I would walk the ridges of the hills,
Kindless and desolate.

What were the storm-driven moon to me,
Seed of another father?
What the overflowing
Of the well of dawn?
What the hollow,
Red with rowan fire?
What the king-fern?
What the belled heath?
What the drum of grouse’s wing,
Or glint of spar,
Caught from the pit
Of a deserted quarry?

Let me kiss thy breasts:
I am thy son and lover.