We turned our grief out to graze,
gave over the year's tender greening
across those slabbed hills,
sharp haunches pressing down the field,
what pain, what good taken down
to its root, the root taken, each green spear
until the year itself was consumed,
driven back to the mud it had once been.
When they turned with patient hunger
towards us--these warm beasts, rib-hull, pine-hull--
it was their course we followed, their lead
across the distance. Others chose philosophy,
we heard, or prayer. But we were the only ones
who lasted through the winter, we who offered up our homes
and our crops and everything we had once dared to build.
We knew it was the store and depth and cover from rain
we had given our grief--how we had grown to love the damp
above even what we remembered of each other--
that in turn fed us what little we could take.