Orange pumpkins and golden grains ripen Beneath a horde of black ravens who circle fields Where a straw scarecrow stands with his pipe in To frighten the birds from their meals.
The sky is not yet blue; it is rosy this dawn. A tendril of mist twines around the fruitful hollow: It is a delicate white wreath, soon gone, That laces the amber-leafed larches and purling river below.
The air is thin and clear– A person could see here for miles, And sound carries to a listening ear: The rasp of ravens, the sacred, silent whiles.
Day comes; the mist creeps into low, dank holes, Then vanishes as the sun paints the rose sky blue, Leaving the moon in the east like a glowing coal And coloring night’s purples with daylight’s vivid hues.
Flying like a rushing cataract over the still hills, The ravens light in a dead and leafless oak, To preen their glossy feathers with their matte bills And caw and croak and cackle and laugh as if at a marvelous joke.
Near an old stone cottage lies an old stone bridge In a grass-covered valley beyond a green ridge. The bridge spans a river that purls as it flows, One that makes a fine mist that catches rainbows.
It is a place as tender and as soft as a pheasant With soft, gentle breezes and pink flowers present, Where mothers and children can swim and can read And take the sweet rest that they both need.
But years before in the bridge’s mortar was mud, Made from mixing dirt and man’s blood, And the air, now pacific, was then filled with shrill screams From a man cruelly murdered at this crossing.
It was in the 1700s as he set on his way Past ripening orchards and stacks of gold hay. He was riding a young horse and whistling a song Through dusk’s fabled shadows: black, treacherous, and long.
Beneath the bridge were three murderous men Who leapt out to greet him with evil grins. They surrounded his horse with their swords all aglint; He understood at once their wicked intent.
The thieves acted quickly; they cut at his leg. The man fell from his horse, and he started to beg. But the bandits, wicked bastards, they stole his purse, Then they tortured that innocent till he left this earth.
They made their escape cleanly, and the man died in vain. He was half-eaten by crows when the sheriff came. And the sheriff he looked out over that stone-masoned bridge, And he saw there, far-off, the sight of the ridge.
The sheriff shook his head at the grisly scene, At the inhumanity of men and the cruelty they bring. But the years pass on, and the generations forget: A strong roaring fire dies, and is then again lit.
Seasons pass; centuries pass; the world turns. The buildings rise and fall; the field grows and burns. The geese they migrate, and the ducks come and go. The whales make their journeys far down below.
And at the end of the day, what have we to show? The human race is alive, that much we know. Still we circle that fiery sphere called the sun, And so we shall until our short day is done.
But till then the same places see new faces through years, The laughter, the weeping, the joy, and the tears. And the human race at once lovely, cruel, and so cold, Lives in a most-forgotten history that grows ever old.