east hill

In the hay field on East hill,
above the farmer’s house,
we lay on our backs
where in the daylight
if the weather was fortuitous
and the grass was high enough to cut and dry enough for baling, the farmers and their helpers would bale hay:
On the ruts of the road where the tractors wheels had left the grass flattened
so it did not scratch and poke into your exposed skin,
there we lay in the field at night, in September,
when there was no moon and gazed up at the stars .

You could feel the slow silent turning of the earth, relative to them,
as you lay there
cradled in the soft curve of the ancient mountains
formed in a distant glacial meltdown,
feel the turning of the earth, relative to the stars.

We silently watched the stars and felt the rotation of the earth
-and there were so many-
who could have known,
as a child of the city,
where you could not see the stars, living as we did, beneath a halo of city lights,
where you could never lay upon your back in a cold dark beautiful field in Vermont on an autumn night as the temperature dropped
enough to make your toes and fingers numb

Who could have imagined that there were so many of them
and that if you kept your gaze in any quadrant of the September sky in Vermont at night for a period of about fifteen minutes you would see a shooting star

This I kept with me
this and the implicit pact of old souls to remember that night in a field in Vermont-
East hill- where the stars were bright enough to make shadows in the sharp cut grass and we felt our exquisite smallness in the multitudinous rapture of the galaxy