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Before Frost

Text of Poem

Now summer’s golden bell is mute,
the muffled tones of autumn sound,
this is the day we store the fruit
and search the ridges of the ground

for pockets of potatoes. Vines
of melon, squash, piled by the fence,
a zodiac of garden signs,
confirm the gardener’s common sense

in recognizing portents, hot
odors of rotting cabbages stir
him as he watches mares’ tails blot
the sky and chestnut burst its burr.

Before frost speaks the final word,
he shapes the furrow to the plow
turning the earth whose harvest stored
in sack and basket waits him now,

as in the cellar of the heart
the roots of love lie safe and cherished,
the gardener sighs to end his part
with seeds and seasons that have perished.

First Line
Now summer's golden bell is mute
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
A Single Focus. Iowa City: Prairie Press. 1967. 35.
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