He came from the orchard with something new —
fruits of unseen forms, containing
rhythms before undanced, rhymes ’til then unsaid,
born forth in a long meter indulging its labors,
like a man with a load going uphill
and coming back down again just for the thrill.
He grasped the dust of sunset
settled upon the farmer’s brow
and unwound threads of apple burlap
which he steeped with dew from sunny vines
on which the sprinkled dust became gold.
He held the weathered industrious sparrow
gently in an equally weathered hand,
and whispering to it what he couldn’t write
brought song that made the workday trials light.
When a man in an empty house is graced
with a rosy-cheeked guest from winter’s waste,
he raises the hearth-fire and brings
a jar of hard cider from rare visited wings
and a pipe and ‘baccy are brought to bear
and soon the stories spill forth to share —
this is Robert’s gift and grace.
We come for warmth and leave drunk from his place.