Lying in a Hammock at a Friend’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind Duffy’s empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken-hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
I’ve always loved this poem and recently I came across this comment by the poet Henri Cole that sums up exactly how I feel about it:
The simplified beauty of his language and its truth-telling seem to me as enduring as classical Chinese poetry.
The Paris Review no 26 1961