Amherst Magazine

Geese Grazing

Some twenty geese are grazing on a slope
that ends in ragged beach and glare. Too soon,
a willful heart would turn them into trope.

Of what? Community? Resolve? Hope?
Above the water-shine, a sickle moon.
Some twenty geese are grazing on a slope

of sedge and common grass and heliotrope.
Across the lake, the long wail of a loon.
A willful heart would turn it all to trope,

index of how to live in prose, to cope.
Sight prints its positive—sky, pine, fern, dune.
Some twenty geese are grazing on a slope

like memory, a distant horoscope
of lost and nearly found. Alone this noon,
a willful heart would turn them into trope.

Landscape, loon-song, and geese: the allotropes
of day, its minor notes, a worn-through tune.
Some twenty geese are grazing on a slope;
a willful heart would turn them into trope.

— David R. Sofield, Samuel Williston Professor of English

“Geese Grazing” from Light Disguise, © 2003 by David Sofield. Used by permission of Copper Beech Press (P.O. Box 2578, Providence, RI 02906).