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One crow sorrow, two crows joy, three crows a letter ...--Folk Rhyme

   Now, the scumbled outlines of summer-lustrous,
   summer-soft--are limned into focus
   by the fall, October's thin light.

   Eyes open to all that glitter-houses,
   barns, fields, fences, woods- we
   can spot clearly a crow, one small dot
   in stubble, the hay having been cut.

   All is dappled with feeling,
   something like joy, though it hurts.
   And it's true, the singular crow signals sorrow,
   lore the old people have shared with me.

   For we can't undo what is done,
   can not undo what is done.
   We can never undo what is done.

   This is the way the fat year wastes,
   time of the trees' lovely anguish,
   the roadway littered with yellow, yellowed
   with leaves, time's drying husks.
   This is the way of the old world dying,
   the sorrow season, the season of regret.

   Always, we were just passing through.

ERIC TRETHEWEY is the author of four poetry collections, most recently The Long Road Home. His poems have appeared in a number of magazines, among them the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, the New Republic, the Kenyon Review, the Paris Review, and Ploughshares. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia.

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Author:Trethewey, Eric
Publication:Southwest Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2003
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