Summer at North Farm

Finnish rural life, ca. 1910

Fires, always fires after midnight,
the sun depending in the purple birches

and gleaming like a copper kettle.
By the solstice they’d burned everything,


the bad-luck sleigh, a twisted rocker,
things “possessed” and not-quite-right.


The bonfire coils and lurches,
big as a house, and then it settles.


The dancers come, dressed like rainbows
(if rainbows could be spun),


and linking hands they turn
to the melancholy fiddles.


A red bird spreads its wings now
and in the darker days to come.


From Only Bread Only Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2000).


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