November's News is that Nothing Grows

 Margaret Peters Schwed

First frost. And after,

feathers and turds,
details dotted

on distant slope
a kind of crop

once concealed by grass
weathering, wet now

in the wilt of fall.
Now that is knocks
I know: I must feel
this carrying cold,
how the wind contracts
summer's late sprawl
to a stark (too quick)
dimming of day;
to dry fields aged
past green, past gaudy
to the grays in brown.
The hawk's dead hemlock
a haven for starlings;
wild turkeys too
take to the pine,
their bodies bowing
the uppermost branches
where they sway and sag,
safe, fox-proof
as the light, still live,
leaves this pasture.
And if hoses harden
left on the hill,
the wink of water
welling inside them,
bring them back,
bring them coiled
to store until spring
when the simmer of bees
resumes—released from the ready hives.


Maggie Schwed's poems have appeared in Raritan, Pleiades, Nimrod, Commonweal and Barrow Street, as well as in other magazines and anthologies. She has poems forthcoming in Western Humanities Review and Cider Press Review. Her first chapbook, Out of Season, was published this year with Finishing Line Press, and she reviews books of poems regularly for Pleiades. For the past three years, she has been learning to farm, first at Bobolink Dairy and now at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. She lives in New York City.

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