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Close the Accounts

Text of Poem

The putting-away time shows up
on the calendar after frost prompts me
to turn the page, I grease sickles,
back the mower into the shed beside
the plow and planter, coil the hayrope
on a hook inside the barn, turn off
the water at the pump that runs to
the pasture, drain the tanks there.
This is the day to straighten barn doors
with new hooks and hinges, fold back gates
to the fields and let the cattle glean
the empty rows, to file away spring’s
expectations with heart’s discontent.
Labor has dried its sweat and written
its sum under the year’s account. I
read what the granaries say, walk
through my autumn thoughts under a shower
of yellow leaves, my gains less than I’d
hoped, my losses more than I planned.

First Line
The putting away time shows up
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Commonweal (15 Oct. 1965) 57.
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